Golden Gaming International has launched an online sports betting centre at MG Road in Gangtok, Sikkim, reports Hindustan Times. Since Sikkim is one of the only states in the country to legalize betting, the platform is available only over intranet, blocking access from the rest of India.
The state government of Sikkim has overall authorized 4 gaming and lottery licenses – to Sugal & Damani Group, Future Gaming Group and Essel Group’s Playwin other than Golden Gaming. Note that only 3 states allow casinos in India – Goa, Daman and Sikkim.
Interestingly, last month the governor of Nagaland has given his assent to the “”The Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill” Bill, 2015″, which would include card based games like Rummy and Poker, quizzes and strategy games, and virtual sports (including virtual Cricket, virtual racing games) and adventure, virtual stock trading, as well as fantasy leagues.
These would be allowed in the state of Nagaland and applicable in territories in India where games of skill are permitted. The implications of this law raised questions about cross state taxation and state-specific jurisdiction with respect to the Internet in India. Note that the Lodha Committee report on the BCCI also recommends legalization of betting on sports.
Ban on online lotteries: On the other side of the coin, in November last year, the Supreme Court upheld a ban on the sale of online lottery tickets by the Kerala state government. The Kerala High Court had earlier in January 2005 directed the state government to implement a ban on all lotteries in the state, however later amended the directive to only include online lotteries and not paper-based lotteries issued by the state.
At the time, the Court said that most forms of gambling are “confined to a few persons and places” whereas a lottery “infests the whole community; it enters every dwelling; it reaches every class; it preys upon the hard earnings of the poor; it plunders the ignorant and the simple.” The appeal against the Kerala’s ban on online lotteries was filed by the All Kerala Online Lottery Dealers Association and the states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Nagaland.