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Internet Poker Is Considered A Skill Game In India, But It's Still Illegal For Businesses To Offer It

Court Rules That Such Online Games Aren't Allowed


A local court in New Delhi, India’s capital city, has ruled that betting on skill games on the Internet isn’t lawful, Indo-Asian News Service reported this week. The ruling came after a company requested some guidance on the matter prior to potentially launching a product.

The start-up firm reportedly was looking to offer games such as chess, pool, poker and bridge on its site. Chess is widely considered to be essentially 100 percent skill-based.

India’s 1.2 billion population is spread out over 28 states and 7 union territories. The country, on a whole, has not been very receptive to the gambling industry, as it has a law dating back to 1867 that restricts the activity. Other prohibitions since then have also been pushed through.

According to a 2009 article by, only two states have legalized casino gambling.

Despite gambling’s widespread illegality, underground poker does go on in the country, according to a 2011 piece from Being a game of skill doesn’t go very far in India.

While some in the East try to ponder the implications of such Internet businesses, the United States isn’t necessarily having an easier time. Efforts by some to pass a federal online poker bill have amounted to zilch. The majority of state attempts have bombed over the years, as just two states have the activity authorized. Delaware and Nevada have each passed bills, and the Silver State is already preparing for its first real-money games this fall.

Online gambling in European countries is much more advanced than both India and the United States. However, a technology firm recently left the market there, essentially calling the region a regulatory mess and not really worth it at the moment.

According to research from H2 Gambling Capital, the size of the global online poker market is approaching $5 billion, while the United States, with 311 million people, represents nearly 30 percent of that. If India ever were to legalize, it could be the most lucrative market in the world.

Photo of New Delhi, via

Follow Brian Pempus on Twitter — @brianpempus

Tags: India,   Online Poker