Games are the source of recreational activities that engage some sort of skill of the player which may be physical strength or mental capabilities. Created for our entertainment the rules and conditions of play may vary for each game. In order to increase the thrill in the game, they may be played for real money. It is at this stage that they are often confused with gambling activities. However, The Apex Court recognizes the games where success depends on substantial degree of skill and despite the existence of an element of chance there is requirement of application of skill, are not "gambling"1:
LEGISLATION GOVERNING GAME OF SKILL
Although betting/ gambling remain the matters of exclusive jurisdiction of the applicable State legislature, there are hardly any state laws which clearly classify a game to be a game of skill. With a pragmatic approach to deal with the difficulties posed by the lack of appropriate regulation, the Government of Nagaland has passed the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion of Online Games of Skill Act, 2015 (hereinafter referred to as "Nagaland Act") and Rules, 2016 (hereinafter referred to as "Rules"). The license issued under the Nagaland Act and Rules ensure the fact that a particular online game is a game of skill and not an act of gambling.
The license issued in accordance to the Nagaland Act and Rules is valid for the operation of the game throughout India except in the states expressly prohibiting betting/ wagering of any sort i.e. Assam, Odisha, Telangana and Gujrat.
OBLIGATIONS FOR THE APPLICANT
The Applicant willing to obtain the license for game of skill are required to fulfill the following obligations as per the Nagaland Act and Rules namely:
- Applicants should have no criminal history;
- Controlling stake of the applicant should be in India;
- Operations of the applicant including technology support platforms, software serves should remain within the territorial limits of India;
- Applicant should submit the application to the Director of State lotteries, Nagaland along with the application fees of INR 50,000/-.
In the progressive view, the Nagaland Act and Rules accord legal protection to the games of skill being played with involvement of stakes, the Nagaland Act. It certainly entails advantages to the entrepreneurs involved in the business of gaming.
1. State of Bombay v. RMD Chamarbaugwala [A.I.R., 1957 S.C. 699] - held by the Apex Court of India
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