Adda52 has tied up with Amit Buman, the Vice Chairman of Dabur India, to launch a poker league called the Poker Sports League, reports Trak.in. The league will launch with a Rs 3.36 crore prize money for the competition, with a total of 12 teams participating.
Note that poker is considered a skill-based game in West Bengal, Karnataka and Nagaland, while Sikkim has legalized betting. The game can also be played in Goa and Daman in casinos. The other states in the country consider poker as gambling, making it a grey area at best. Adda52’s initial stages of the competition are online, so it’s not clear if it would be legal for users to participate from other states.
As of now, 7 of the 12 teams have reportedly been finalized, with each team named after a city, including Team Delhi, Bengaluru, Goa, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Rajasthan and Kolkata. The Bengaluru team will led by Freecharge founder Kunal Shah, with other teams also being led by eminent personalities. Teams, including Pune, Gujarat, Shimla, Chennai and Punjab are expected to have their ownership finalized by the end of January.
Each team will be allowed to have 9 players, with player selection taking place over 3 months through free qualifiers starting from February. Users can also register as pro payers and skip the qualifiers if they feel they are good enough already. As of now, the league’s website sports an empty online qualifier registration page. The franchise owners will reportedly spend Rs 70-80 crore in the next 10 years on their teams, with winnings distributed based among team members based on if a mentor, pro, normal players or a wild card entry.
At a time with more states legalizing gambling or considering such games games of skill, there is still the issue of state-specific jurisdiction with respect to gambling. Police restraining users from playing poker are regular occurrences in the country. As such, a a national law governing gambling and skill-based games is in order. Note that the Lodha Committee report on the BCCI also recommends legalization of betting on sports.