Various online poker, rummy and fantasy sports companies such as Adda52, RummyCircle, Junglee Rummy, MPL, Paytm First Games etc. are operating online real money games and allowing users to bet money. The logic behind offering online poker, rummy or fantasy sports for stakes is that ‘games of skill’ are exempted from the state gambling or gaming laws in many states across the country and court judgments allow such games to be classified as games that are based on skills rather than luck of individuals.
However, if one carefully sees the Terms and Conditions of most of these websites, the services of these websites are not available in some states of the country such as Assam, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu etc. The reason for this exclusion is that gambling laws in these states neither recognise nor exempt skill-based games from their ambit and thus club all games, whether skill or chance based, when played for stakes or money, under the bracket of gambling.
Interestingly, none of these websites have excluded players from Arunachal Pradesh from the list of banned states although the law governing gambling and betting in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, the Arunachal Pradesh (Gambling) Prohibition Act, 2012, makes playing games for stakes clearly illegal.
Unlike the Public Gambling Act or state laws in some other states, which exempt ‘games of mere skill wherever played’ from the ambit of gambling, under Section 13 of the Arunachal Pradesh (Gambling) Prohibition Act, 2012, under the heading ‘Exemption of Games of Mere Skill’ only games ‘played without involving any money and merely for the sake of entertainment’ are excluded from the criminal provisions of the law.
Further, the Act allows the District Magistrate to give permission for any game played on the eve of any festival after obtaining due permission from the competent authority, i.e., the District Magistrate.
From the above, it is clear that none of the online gaming companies are legally offering their services in Arunachal Pradesh for the last nine years, but most of the companies are continuing to offer games to residents of the state, whether by oversight or due to some other reason.
Does this mean that the Arunachal Pradesh government can take action against such websites? Will such websites be in trouble in the state? Only time will tell.
Stay tuned for more Indian gambling news.