Online poker games have been witnessing a steep incline in their popularity all around the world. The primary reason being the ease of access, rewards and thrill offered by online gaming platforms. People today consider this game as a means of entertainment and stress-buster. However, despite its increasing popularity, the game raises various questions about its legality in India. So, today we are here to answer the most common question – is online poker legal in India?
Under the Public Gambling Act of 1867, the Supreme Court of India categorised online games as Game of Skills and Game of Chance. Here, Game of Skills is used to define games wherein the skills of the player play a dominant role in the winning of the player, while in Game of Chance, the luck of the player is considered to play a dominant role in the winning of the individual.
Online Poker Games in India are believed to fall in the former category as playing and winning this game requires a definite skill set. The game comprises a bit of luck element, but mainly it is the mathematical, analytical, observational and decision-making skills of a player that define the winning of a player. Thus, playing poker online in India is considered 100% legal.
The Indian Constitution has provided a right to all the states to form their own laws pertaining to betting and gambling for all kinds of games. Thus, despite the fact that online poker games are defined as 100% legal in India, there are various states that have imposed a ban on playing the game.
States such as Assam, Telangana, Nagaland, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, using the provision of the Indian Constitution, have banned online poker in the state. Not just online poker, many of these states have imposed restrictions on the organisation of games that include real money transactions.
Apart from the aforementioned states, online poker can be enjoyed by players in every part of the country and is considered completely legal.
Considering the legality of the game, there are various platforms that offer online poker games to the audience. However, there is a certain eligibility criterion that is to be followed by all the players wishing to enjoy the game on online platforms. This criterion includes:
Age Limit – The legal age to play online poker in India is considered to be 18 years. Any player below the age of 18-year is not allowed to register and play poker on online platforms in India.
Location Restrictions – Any resident of the restricted states mentioned in the previous sections of the blog are not allowed to participate in online poker games in India.
Online poker games are completely legal in India as it falls under the category of Game of Skills defined by the Supreme Court of India. Apart from age and geographical restrictions (state legalities), players can freely enjoy the game at their fingertips. However, it is important that aside from abiding by the legalities associated with the game, you should play the game responsibly. It should only be used as a means of entertainment and fun.