2 Minutes Read
Indian laws on online gaming are in a process of developing, considering that there have been no earlier legislations in place, simply because this space is relatively new. This has seen many states confused as to the stance to be adopted vis a vis online gaming. In such a scenario, Nagaland recently became the first Indian State to pass the “Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Bill 2015,” which has several ramifications for the gaming industry, besides being a precedent for other states to follow suit in the future.
In lieu of these ramifications, PokerHigh Productions conducted a video interview with Vaibhav Gaggar (cover image), Managing Partner, Gaggar and Associates, who has been instrumental in several landmark judgments pertaining to cyber laws, white collar crime and more. Mr. Gaggar has years of experience in consulting private companies and states on gaming and gambling laws.
In this video, Mr. Gaggar speaks at length on a number of points, starting with explaining the bill and its effects on other states, operators and players.
The first point he shares is that “the games of skill act as it’s commonly referred to is first of its kind not just in India, but rather globally as well”, making it clear that the issue is a worldwide one.
As far as India is concerned, Gaggar clarifies that “in India, under our constitution there are two divisions one is gambling and one is game of skill. If it’s a game of skill whether played for profit or stakes or wager or betting it cannot amount to gambling.”
As per the laws, he says that it is not just poker, but also “rummy, bridge, chess, sudoku, mind games – virtual war games are also taken into consideration as e-sports” and considered as games of skill.
According to Gaggar, the greatest fall-out of legalization would be the elimination of uncertainty of having to operate in a ‘grey’ market. It would provide legitimacy and open up “things like Google advertising and other advertising avenues, I think it could be a game changer,” he adds.
Dismissing rumours that the bill was passed due to the ‘vested interests’ of a parliamentarian, Gaggar describes how a bill is formulated and processed into a law. “Once the cabinet internally discusses it; then it gets placed before the house, there are debates or there is a discussion or there is a voting by ballet and then it becomes a law. You know even then it doesn’t become a law. Post that they go to the law ministry of the state, the governor of the state. It has to be gazette, if one man can pull this off then hats off, it’s not possible.”
Gaggar goes on to talk about how poker is being increasingly accepted as a ‘game of skill’ by various Indian states, which he believes, is a positive direction for the industry. However, he believes that online poker is safer than live poker, because authorities “will/can create problems because they don’t have a recording of what games are going on. They just need to make an allegation that this isn’t poker, its three card flash and suddenly it’s their word against yours.”
Finally, Gaggar states that Indian poker is poised on the edge of a breakthrough to huge possibilities and sees it as a recognized and legitimate industry.
“Once it (advertising) starts that’s when the real action will begin and I think the advantage that PartyPoker had in Europe in 2002-03 when they were going into listing, that’s where Indian poker industry is poised today, either you are there or not there and its going to be a mad race,” he concludes.