With over 1.25 billion people, India has often been looked at as an untapped goldmine for online poker operators. And we’ve moved one step closer towards tapping into this potential since the Indian state of Nagaland has passed iPoker legislation.
According to Glaws.in, a legislative assembly approved “Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Bill, 2015,” which will change the way that the state’s government views poker, rummy and fantasy sports.
Introduced in July 2015, this legislation also makes way for these games to be regulated online since they are not viewed as gambling. Nagaland’s Governor, Padmanabha Balakrishna Acharya, will soon review the bill and make his recommendations before the framework can be finalized. Once this is done, online operators will be able to start setting up operations.
It will no doubt take some time before everything falls into place. But it’s nice to see that another part of the world is not only viewing online poker as a skill game, but also something that should be legal and available. Glaws.in speculates that “the path-breaking legislation introduced by the Nagaland government can prompt other states to introduce a regulatory framework for skill games as well.”
Nagaland is just a small piece to the puzzle because this remote, mountainous state is only home to around 2.2 million people. However, if all goes well with their iPoker operation, then it could very well start a domino effect throughout India.
The sheer volume of Indians who would have access to legal online poker is exciting to think about. However, the one downside is that, according to World Bank, the average income in India is only US$1,581. This probably means that we’d be looking at a lot of micro stakes play, but it would still be nice to have this influx in the regulated iPoker population.