KOCHI: Do you love to play chess or rummy online. Are you interested in a competition in these online games. There is a reason for you to rejoice.

Nagaland has recently legalised online gaming, thus becaming the first state in the country to do so.

States like Meghalaya and Sikkim may soon join the league in an effort to endorse new form of digital skills.

The online skill games industry is around eight years old in the country, in which online rummy websites were started first.

The industry is worth Rs 500 crore and is expected to post a growth rate of 15-20 per cent annually.

The list of online games includes chess, Sudoku, poker, rummy, virtual sports like cricket, football and fantasy sports league games.

“The Nagaland Act to regulate skill games is definitely a step in the right direction for the growth of gaming industry. As one of the leading operators of poker and rummy, we would certainly be interested in applying for a license. However, we will wait for the rules and licensing guidelines to be formulated before taking a final decision,” said P K Jain, Head of Operations of Sachar Gaming Private Limited, which operates khelplayrummy.com and khelplay.com, leading poker and rummy websites in India.

 

Online skill-based websites offer real-money games such as rummy, poker and fantasy sports based on judicial precedents and statistical evidence. As regards to poker and fantasy sports, there has been no conclusive ruling by any Indian courts so far, declaring them to be games of skill.

In August 2015, the Supreme Court declined to entertain petitions on the legality of online and offline rummy games played for profit or gain. However, till date, there has been neither been any conclusive verdict nor any legislative provision to clarify the legality of real-money online skill-based websites.

“The new development (in Nagaland) has brought in some amount of certainty on online games of skill. It is a first of its kind move, which will regularise the process to a certain extent. There is also the issue of taxation, whether turnovers of only Nagaland-based companies will be taxed or businesses all over can be taxed,” said B Jay Sayta, Founder of glaws.in, a gambling law website.

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