The principal legislation dealing with gaming in India is the Public Gambling Act, 1867 (the “PGA”) and the Prize Competitions Act, 1955 with the former criminalising the act of gambling. Additionally, as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, 1950 (Entries 34 and 62 of List II), the state governments have been authorised to make laws on betting and gambling. Therefore, where state legislation on gambling exists, it prevails over the PGA, which is central legislation promulgated earlier in time. Accordingly, in addition to the PGA, a number of states in India have enacted legislation to govern gambling and gaming within these states.
Section 12 of the PGA exempts games of skill from the penal provisions against gambling and states that “Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Act contained shall be held to apply to any game of more skill wherever played”.
As far as poker is concerned, various High Courts (including the Bombay High Court, the Calcutta High Court and the High Court of Karnataka) have held that Poker is a game of skill and thus, legal.
There have been various legal precedents that have consistently maintained that a game that requires a substantial degree of skill for a player to be successful will be considered as a game of skill, does not amount to gambling and hence, is legal. It is pertinent to note that the courts have recognised that no game is a game of pure skill alone and almost all games involve an element, albeit infinitesimal, of chance; thus, the deciding factor is the dominance of skill over chance.
It is to be noted that due to state ordinances, court orders and/or non-clarity, we are unable to offer the usage of our platform to the residents of the states of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat.