Best Indian Poker Rooms
The Future of Poker in India
The poker scene in India is relatively young compared to other parts of the world. Poker is very much still emerging in India, but it is growing at quite a pace considering the uncertainty surrounding the legal landscape for the game. At the casinos in Goa – where poker is clearly defined as being legal – the poker tables are consistently busy. There are large poker tournaments, such as the India Poker Championship, regularly held in India and the game is expected to go from strength to strength.
It is also perfectly legal to play poker in your own home (providing no rake is taken) and organised home games are becoming increasingly popular. The use of online poker sites is also becoming more and more common, despite the lack of clarity of the legality of this. It seems clear that if the people of India want to play poker, they will. It will be interesting to see how things are moving forward and what the future holds for poker in India.
The question of whether poker is a game of skill or a game of chance is unanswered at this moment in time. Should there be a ruling that poker is a game of skill, and not gambling, than it would fair to assume that the playing of poker is legal and not affected by gambling legislation. However, that question becomes a moot point if gambling is legalised and regulated in India. There are people in India that believe gambling should be legalised and regulated, and there are many reasons they put forward as to why this should happen. A few of these reasons are listed here.
Outdated Laws. The argument on this point is that the legislation in place surrounding gambling in India has been in place for years, and does not take into account modern culture. Gambling was historically considered to be immoral but it could be said that it is more socially acceptable these days.
Contradictions & Conflicts in the Law. Gambling is largely prohibited throughout India, but there are certain exceptions. For example, lotteries are allowed in many states throughout the country. The point could be made that playing in the lottery is one of the worst forms of gambling – with a low chance of winning, the temptation to chase the big prize and absolutely no skill involved whatsoever. That is, of course, a matter of interpretation but the fact remains that lotteries are not allowed in many states, but certain state governments actively promote them. Betting on horse racing is also allowed, and games such as Rummy and chess have been deemed as games of skill for the purposes of gambling legislation. It is this apparent lack of consistency that can cause frustration for supporters of legalised gambling.
Gambling & Betting DOES take place. It is no secret that, on cricket in particular, there is widespread betting already taking place in India. Given that such betting is deemed illegal, the betting takes place “underground”, with illegal bookmakers. There are beliefs that many of these illegal bookmakers use the proceeds from their gambling activities to fund other criminal activities. A regulated environment could put a stop to that.
Revenue for Indian government. If gambling was legalised and regulated in India then it could also be taxed. Given the amount of money illegally gambled in India is believed to amount to several billion dollars, then the tax revenues that could be generated could be very significant.
Clarity & Protection for Everyone. A regulated gambling environment would enable legislation to be updated and amended. This could create a clarity that doesn’t currently exist and residents of India could know exactly what is, and isn’t, legal. It would also means guidelines to be set out so gambling operators would have responsibilities to provide fair and safe gambling and ensure that vulnerable people (such as minors and compulsive gamblers) were protected.
There has been much talk about gambling and its legality in India, but there has been no indication that central government is considering regulation and/or legalisation. There has been talk of moves at state level – specifically in Sikkim – to offer gambling licenses to operators, but nothing has yet materialised. It seems clear that the ball is very much in the court of central government and that is where the next move must be made.
DISCLAIMER : The opinions and interpretations contained with this article are the personal opinions and interpretations of the author(s) in relation to the legality of poker in India. Neither the author(s) nor the owners and management of FundooPoker can be held liable in any way for any loss nor any damage that is incurred as a result of activities undertaken based on these opinions and interpretations. If they see fit, readers of this article should obtain their own advice in respect of the legality of gambling in India.