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In an historic moment for the Indian poker industry, the state of Nagaland has issued its first online gaming license to Khelo365.com, an online poker site operated by K365 Web Assets Pvt Ltd on Dec 14.
Approved by the select committee on March 17, 2016, Nagaland`s legislative assembly had passed the “Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Bill, 2015”.
With the Governor PB Acharya approving the Bill on April 7, 2016, the same became a duly promulgated Act, ready to be published in the Official Gazette. The state government had already begun the process of screening applications from several operators and while we have news that several companies have been issued a ‘Letter of Intent’, K365 Web Assets Pvt Ltd is the first company to receive the license.
Sharing the license copy with PokerGuru, Vinod Manoharan CEO of Khelo365.com confirmed the news that the site is now officially licensed to offer No Limit Texas Hold`em and Pot Limit Omaha games for stakes. Issued for a period of five years, the license requires the company to adhere to strict guidelines as laid out by the Nagaland government in the term sheet.
1. This license has been issued for the specific purpose of enabling the Applicant Company to commence the business of providing online “Games of Skill” from the State of Nagaland to territories which recognize “GAMES OF SKILL” as exempt from the local Gambling statutes or outside the ambit of “Gambling”.
2. It shall be the sole responsibility of the Licensee to ensure that it does not provide the ‘Games of Skill’ in territories where they are considered to the gambling activities.
3. The Licensee undertakes and declares that it does not have any interest whatsoever, directly or indirectly, with any company or activity, whether in India or not, which engages in or operates “Games of Chance” or “Gambling”. The Licensee shall further undertake and ensure that it does not use any brand names that are associated with ‘gambling’ elsewhere in the world in any manner whatsoever for running the games of skill in India.
4. The Licensee shall he required to ensure that the controlling stake of the company remains in India and all executive decisions of the company are taken in India.
5. The Licensee shall further be required to ensure that the operations of the company holding the license as well as the technology support for that including providing the platform, software, servers etc. are controlled, maintained and operated from within the territorial boundaries of India.
6. The Licensee shall create and maintain a dash board with a user name and password provided to the Licensing Authority that will enable the Licensing Authority to check details of activities being undertaken under the license from the site in real time.
7. In the event of change in the URL address, it shall be the responsibility of the Licensee to provide prior intimation of at least 15 days in advance to the Licensing Authority along with facility of a dash board and access to the new URL.
8. The Licensee agrees that it shall pay the amounts as mentioned below in the time schedule provided:-
(i). The ‘Annual License Fee’ of Rs. 10 lakhs per game per annum. or Rs. 25 lakhs for a bouquet of games per annum for the first 3 (three) years. and Rs. 20 lakhs per game per annum or Rs. 50 lakhs for a bouquet of games per annum for the next two years.
(ii). The Licensee shall further be required to pay an amount of 0.5% of the gross revenue generated by the Licensee (less Service Tax) as royalty to the State Government.
9. The Licensing Authority shall have the power to make assessment of the market and volumes of business generated from time to time, and make revisions to the annual license fee and royalty share of the State Government from time to time.
10. Payment on the site shall be through registered and recognized payment modes including debit cards, credit cards, net-banking, use of e-wallets etc. which are recognized modes of payment as per RBI guidelines. In case of transaction in cash, the same shall be permissible only in compliance with all KYC norms and full disclosure.
11. The Licensee shall maintain a single designated account which shall be known to the Licensing Authority, and specific instructions shall be issued to the bank to Licensing Authority as and when so demanded. The gross revenues named by the Licensee shall be deposited only in such disclosed and designated accounts to ensure transparency and control.
12. The Licensee shall furnish necessary authorisations to the bank holding the designated and disclosed accounts to furnish printouts, statements or reports of the transactions of the accounts as and when required by the State Government.
13. The Licensee shall be responsible for ensuring that the amounts to be transferred as per clause 7 (ii) are transferred on a monthly basis (within the 1st week of every succeeding month) to an account designated by the Licensing Authority.
14. Reconciliation of accounts shall be made on quarterly basis. Final reconciliation of accounts shall be done within 30 (thirty) days of submission of the licensee’s accounts for closing to Registrar of Companies.
15. Only players above the age of 18 years shall be permitted to play for stake on the site.
16. The Licensee shall ensure that there is no foreign exchange violation.
17. The Licensee shall be permitted to offer the games for stake and earn a profit from the rake generated and from advertising, downloading and other revenue streams.
18. The Licensee shall be permitted to offer its site and the games for stake and profit on the Internet through the mediums of computer or mobile phones or television.
19. A license issued under this Act shall be valid for a period of 5 (five) years subject to compliance of prescribed conditions, and shall be deemed to have been renewed every year thereafter as long as the license fee has been duly paid by the license holder within the specified period, and the license has not been revocked as per the provisions of the Act.
20. This license is not transferable. In the event of change in the share holding pattern or change in the directorship or the licensee being acquired, the license shall immediately stand suspended and the company will have to approach the licensing authority within 30(thirty) days and gate the masons for such change in writing. The licensing authority reserves the right to decide whether to resume the license or not.
21. In case there is any misrepresentation by any License holder to the Licensing Authority, whether prior to or post the issuance of this license, the license is liable to be cancelled in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 of the Act along with other remedies under law.
22. The Licensing Authority shall be entitled to cancel the present license after issuing show cause notice of 30 (thirty) days on the following grounds:-
(i) violation of the provisions of the Act, its Rules or Regulations;
(ii) breach/ violation of the terms and conditions of the license; and
(iii) Mis-declaration of facts to the Licensing Authority.
23. In case of dispute between parties concerning or arising out of or in relation to the operation. – interpretation etc. of the present license. The same shall be referred to the sole arbitrator who shall decide the dispute within a period of 6 (six) months from the date of filing of claim. The Arbitrator shall be entitled to decide the venue, fee and procedure to be adopted. The Courts at Kohima shall have exclusive jurisdiction and the laws of India shall be applicable. The proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with the Indian Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
24. The Licensee shall fully indemnify and defend Government against any financial and legal liabilities arising from the conduct of Games of Skill under this license on account of violation of the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Rules, 2015 (Act No.3 of 2016) and Rules framed there under and all such claims that are solely attributable to the Licensee, in relation to the online games of skill covering their entire period of license.