First Indian licensed poker sites to offer real-money gaming

By Dhanum Nursigadoo
Having legalising online skill games in April 2016, Indian state Nagaland issued online poker licenses to two website. Khelo365.com and ClubEmpire.in, both of which are now offering real money games internationally and to customers in any Indian state where skill-gaming is permitted.

Despite Nagaland’s small size in the sub-continent, there are hopes that the introduction of legalised online poker could be the impetus for an online poker boom in a country with over 1 billion people.

The poverty and lack of internet capable devices should temper any excitement about the prospect of a gold rush, India is more likely to be a medium to long term market opportunity.

Amaya CEO, Rafi Ashkenazi, who own Pokerstars, commented on the Indian poker market in November: “We estimate the market in India to be anywhere between $80 million to a $150 million a year. But it will take time to build up this level of revenues from India.”

Although legalisation occurred in April, the delay for licenses being issued was due to a Madras High Court ruling that rummy could not be played for financial gain.

The ruling was overturned by India’s Supreme Court, declaring: “The remarks of the division bench of the Madras High Court, that playing rummy for stakes amounts to the offence of gambling, have no precedential value and would not apply to either online or offline rummy.”

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