No debate on Indian poker legality, says Thrill Poker director

No debate on Indian poker legality, says Thrill Poker director

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 Totally Gaming
Aditya Oberoi wants to add professionalism to the poker market

Thrill Poker director Aditya Oberoi believes there is no question over the legality of online poker in India.

Some courts in recent years have decided that using real money makes poker illegal, and the lack of clear government legislation on both poker and online gaming mean that it is not permitted.

However, Oberoi points to court rulings that have defined poker as a game of skill rather than chance, and with no laws specifically criminalising it, he is confident that Thrill Poker is operating without any risk of prosecution.

“The poker business in India is completely legal,” Oberoi told TotallyGaming.com. “In some states poker is specifically excluded from gaming acts and laws. In some, one is allowed to operate physical clubs where people can come and play poker, and there are some that haven't yet postulated it’s legality.

“That said, the Indian government - through various high court judgements - classifies poker to be a game of skill, like rummy, chess, or snooker, and is therefore considered completely legal.

“Like many governments internationally, the Indian government sees poker as a game of skill, and we don't see that position changing any time soon.”

Sikkim last year became the first state to award an online gaming license, with Future Gaming now specifically allowed to offer poker, baccarat, roulette, blackjack and sports betting to customers within its boundaries.

While discussions about legality continue over the years, Thrill Poker, which launched in 2014, is more concerned with adding a professionalism to its ambitious offering as it seeks to reach out to the nation’s huge 1.2 billion population. 

Oberoi added: “The market is fragmented into a small number of local operators, mostly using indigenous software with varying rake caps and percentages.

“Thrill Poker, over the last year, has evolved as a poker company that wants to provide enthusiasts and recreational players of the game in India with an international, fault free, tamper proof gaming environment, to gain the trust of the poker player, and ensure that they have an unparalleled experience while playing poker online."

Oberoi believes the level of professionalism on offer will be raised after Thrill Poker last week signed up to become the first operator to join online gaming software developer Microgaming’s MPN India platform.

He told TotallyGaming.com: “The online gaming industry in India is young, our software options are fairly limited, and we struggled for a long time to find a provider that carries the kind of credibility that Microgaming does.

“Indian poker players, though a smaller contingent - at the moment - than their European or American counterparts, are a fast growing, intelligent, and internationally aware community.

“We don’t see why they should settle for any less than they would playing in Europe.”

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