Nagaland has just approved the introduction of online skill-based gaming in its state. The approval has been clarified as part of the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion of Online Games of Skill Bill, 2015.
The online gambling bill was introducted by Chief Minister TR Zeilang in the middle of last year. It is made clear in the bill that the gambling games that are prohibited are games of chance, while games of skill are acceptable. Games of skill have loosely been defined as games that require more skill than chance to win.
The Nagaland Legislative Assembly received a report this week after the bill was studied and clarified by a special committee. It was advised that the bill should be passed, noting that the bill is both legally correct, and also offers the chance for generating additional revenue for the small state.
Nagaland, located in northeast India, has therefore taken a step forward to become the first Indian state to legalise and license online real money games such as rummy, poker, and fantasy sports. The state is only likely to make a relatively small amount of additional revenue since it has a population of less than two million people.
Games of skill for the purposes of this legislation have been defined as follows: “[Skill is] strategizing the manner of placing wagers or placing bets or where the skill lies in team selection or selection of virtual stock based on analyses or where the skill relates to the manner in which the moves are made, whether deployment of physical or mental skill and acumen.”
The state law does not go against Indian law since according to various court rulings in India, when a game is considered a game of skill, it is legally accepted as a game “with or without stake to be a genuine business venture and not amounting to gambling.”
At this time, Indian legislation does not allow states to offer lotteries or gaming to other states. Should this change, Nagaland will already have an online gaming presence ready to go.