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Gaming Report: Supreme Court Gives Varun Gumber 2 Weeks to File Additional Papers, Swadeshi Jagran Manch Calls For Restrictions on Entry Charges in Online RMGs & More

Gaming Report: Supreme Court Gives Varun Gumber 2 Weeks
  • Naman Sharma September 22, 2022
  • 5 Minutes Read

Litigation involving online gaming is piling up in the Supreme Court. Just days after the apex court made it clear it would jointly hear the appeals by the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka governments challenging the respective High Court’s overturning of the blanket bans, the Supreme Court granted activist Varun Gumber two weeks to file additional documents in his review petition against the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s 2017 judgment that ruled fantasy sports to be a game of skill.

There is little doubt that the hunger for political power has always been a roadblock to the progress of India’s online gaming industry. In yet another example of demonizing the real-money gaming sector to gain political mileage, the RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch reacted sharply to the news of the Union Government considering setting up a regulatory body for online gaming.

Moving across the Palk Straits to our neighbor Sri Lanka, where the newly formed government under President Ranil Wickremesinghe has released regulations to formalize and regularise gaming under a 2010 law, granting renewable licenses valid for up to 20 years.

Coming to global news, GGPoker players in Ontario will soon be migrated to WSOP.ca, with the site preparing to go live on September 30.

Just days after the world’s second-longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was laid to rest, speculations were rife that the newly appointed UK Prime Minister Liz Truss might abandon the long-deferred overhaul of gambling legislation to focus on economic growth.

 

Supreme Court Gives Varun Gumber 2 Weeks to File Additional Papers in Review Plea Against Legality of Fantasy Sports

The Supreme Court has granted social activist Varun Gumber two weeks to file additional documents in his review petition filed against the 2017 Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment that ruled fantasy sports to be a game of skill.

On September 16, a two-judge bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Dinesh Maheswari delivered the order after taking up the review petition. The court’s notice becomes relevant because the court had dismissed similar appeals against the mentioned 2017 ruling in the past.

Just a fortnight ago, on September 9, a division bench of Justices BR Gavai and CT Ravi Kumar discharged a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by Avinash Mehrotra, challenging a similar 2020 order of the Rajasthan High Court. Mehrotra claimed fantasy sports games offered by platforms like Dream11 amounted to gambling.

 

Swadeshi Jagran Manch Calls for Restrictions on Entry Charges in Online Real Money Games

The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch has reacted sharply to the news of the Union Government considering setting up a regulatory body for online gaming.

Ashwani Mahajan, an official of the group, came out with a statement earlier this week, asking that the government needs to tread carefully on the road to regulating online gaming. Mahajan told Reuters – “Ticket size should be regulated. It should not be more than 50 rupees. This is an addiction. We will talk to all concerned ministries about this.”

In June, the Union government set up an inter-ministerial panel to examine the possibility of regulating the online gaming sector. The seven-member panel comprised members from the Niti Aayog, secretaries of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Department of Revenue, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the Meity secretary.

Earlier this week, the panel presented a draft report recommending that a regulatory body governing online gaming be set up and online games be classified as games of chance or skill. The committee also suggested forming rules to block specific gaming formats and taking a stricter approach toward gambling websites.

 

Sri Lanka Government Issues Casino Rules; Gives Green Light to JKH’s Cinnamon Life Casino and Resort

According to two reports in local media, the Sri Lankan government under President Ranil Wickremesinghe has released regulations to formalize and regularise gaming under a 2010 law, with the provision to grant renewable licenses for up to 20 years.

Ranil Wickremesinghe
Ranil Wickremesinghe

 

The cost for a five-year renewable license is 500 Million Lankan rupees. This decision has been made at a time of adversity for the nation, which is officially bankrupt and has been dealing with severe shortages of food, supplies, and fuel.

After the island government issued new casino rules, Sri Lanka’s leading conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH), is almost on the verge of formalizing a deal with a casino operator for its Cinnamon Life integrated resort, said JKH Chairman Krishan Balendra.

“As the government has gazetted the legal framework and regulations for gaming, we will finalize arrangements with a license holder and operator to rent the designated casino area at Cinnamon Life,” Balendra said to Sri Lanka-based news platform Economy Next. “Then we will begin fitting out and equipping the space.”

CAL Research, an independent research firm, notified that a 5-star hotel in an integrated resort usually charges 50% higher room rentals than a standalone one. Cinnamon Life is expected to open in the first half of 2023, and the casino will likely commence operations in 2024.

JKH is expected to get rent and a share of the casino’s profits, in addition to higher occupancy for its 800-room hotel and more patrons for the mall.

“Cinnamon Life will transform Colombo as a leisure and entertainment destination for the region and lead to substantial foreign exchange earnings for the country,” said Balendra.

Amidst the prevailing financial crises, Sri Lanka’s tourism sector has earned close to $900 Million in the first three quarters of 2022.

 

WSOP.ca Goes Live in Ontario on September 30

GGPoker players in Ontario will soon have to migrate to WSOP.ca as the site prepares to go live on September 30. The stable of GGPoker ambassadors, including Ontario’s own Daniel Negreanu, will represent WSOP.ca.

Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu

 

The software of the new site is powered by GGPoker and includes the same features, promotions, and games as the GGPoker global site, but in WSOP Ontario branding.

GGPoker recently announced the go-live date in an email to Ontario players. The email read – “With the introduction of provincial regulations for online gaming in Ontario, the World Series of Poker and GGPoker are joining forces to launch the first-ever WSOP.ca online poker room exclusively in Ontario on Friday, September 30.”

With the launch, WSOP.ca will become the fourth online poker network and the sixth online poker room to operate in the province, after 888poker, BetMGM Poker (and its skins, partypoker, and Bwin) launched in April, and PokerStars, which launched in June.

Ever since Ontario elected to geo-fence its residents with stringent gaming regulations, resident gamers no longer have access to international gambling or poker sites. Ontario’s provincial law states players must be located within the state boundaries, and the gaming sites can only provide access to these players.

Since WSOP.ca will run on the GGPoker software, existing accounts will automatically be transferred to WSOP.ca. Existing verified players will have to furnish additional personal details before they can start playing for real money on the site.

Ontario players will be allowed to have two accounts: One to play on WSOP.ca in Ontario and one to play on GGPoker in the other Canadian provinces and elsewhere. Further, all requested cash-outs will be processed before WSOP.ca goes live.

Promotions earned through GGPoker will be erased, but according to the FAQs, “all players migrating to WSOP.ca will be able to take advantage of all of the new player promotions being offered.

 

Newly Appointed UK Prime Minster Liz Truss Might Scrap Planned Gambling Reforms; Pro-Growth Approach is the New Normal

According to speculations, the newly appointed UK prime minister Liz Truss might abandon the long-deferred overhaul of gambling legislation to focus on economic growth.

Liz Truss
Liz Truss

 

The UK government spent the past few years reviewing and updating its gambling regulations. It was to present its gambling white paper a year ago before delaying its publication several times. It was reportedly ready for publication when Boris Johnson’s resignation put things on hold.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

 

According to The Guardian, Truss and her new cabinet are dumping energy reform and a new bill of rights. At the same time, an online harms bill, animal welfare, and gambling reform could also be coming off the table.

The Guardian further suggested that Truss has instructed ministers to focus efforts on promoting growth rather than burdening businesses with the new regulation. That message could win over many Tory backbenchers in the wake of Truss’s promised spending to alleviate the energy crisis.

However, any decision to drop plans to reform gambling legislation will prove controversial and attract intense criticism, including from within the ruling Conservative party. Even the gambling industry itself will have mixed feelings about reforms being scrapped.

Michelle Donelan has been named the secretary of state for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, whose remit includes gambling. However, it remains to be seen who will be named to lead the review, which was in its final stages before the interruption of the Conservative Party leadership contest.

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