On 30th July, the Sikkim legislators moved forward with a plan to open legalized betting shops in the state. The original plan had been to open the betting shops and allows players from around India to gamble online using the websites that would be hosted in Sikkim.
While Sikkim may continue to open and operate betting shops within the state, those who are located in other states will not be allowed to access the gambling sites. Players who are physically located in Sikkim will be allowed to gamble online via the new websites.
Although the Home Ministry has prevented Sikkim from offering online gambling outside of the state, the move to allow Internet gambling within the state is a move forward for the industry.
The Director of Golden Gaming International, Manoj Sethi, commented on the changes: “We hope to start operations by September, once the amended Bill is signed by the governor and notified by the relevant department. We already have the technical and physical infrastructure in place and are only waiting for a go-ahead from the Directorate of State Lotteries.”
The Sikkim Online Gambling (Regulation) Act was passed in 2008. In 2009, the Sikkim government provided gaming licenses to a number of lottery groups. There were provisional licenses issued, allowing licensees to offer sports betting, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and other games to those who are citizens of Sikkim.
This year, the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Amendment Bill is in the process of expanding the reach of online gaming in the state.
In practical terms, it took some time before the Union Home Ministry permitted the Sikkim government to regulate online gaming, with warnings to keep all betting localized.
At this time, the potential market across the entire country will not be realized, however, income will be derived from both locals and tourists using intranet gaming terminals rather than regular online gaming.