The Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Bill, 2015 will now become an Act.
The development was first reported by gaming laws website GLaws.in. The Act has a long list of online games which will now be allowed. Any game which focuses more on the skill of the players rather than chance will be legal.
The list includes games like chess, sudoku, poker, rummy, virtual sports like cricket, football and fantasy sports league games.
Jay Sayta, who founded GLaws.in and has done extensive work on gaming laws, said the bill "brought some amount of certainty" on online games of skill. He called the law "a first of its kind legislation and a visionary step by the Nagaland government, which will help in defeating the perception that playing skill games for real money amount to gambling."
There has been no legislation to regulate or license online skill games in India before the law introduced by the Nagaland government and therefore the Online Skill Games Act is expected to show the way to other state governments to regulate and license this activity.
P.K. Jain, Head of Operations of Sachar Gaming Pvt. Ltd. which operates khelplayrummy.com and khelplay.com the leading poker and rummy websites in the country said: "The Nagaland Act to regulate skill games is definitely a step in the right direction for the growth of the 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."
Sayta, however, added that there are some concerns relating to the new law.
"For instance, the constitutionality of the provision which bars any company which has any past or present interest in gambling in India or abroad is also questionable. Additionally, whilst the law aims to prohibit online gambling or unauthorized skilled gaming, there are no punitive measures for illegal gambling. Hopefully, the Nagaland government will amendment the law to improve it and address these concerns" he said.