Sikkim is the only state offering online gambling licenses and India’s first state to pass online gaming legislation in 2008. The Indian state legalized betting on sports in early 2010. Nine Letters of Intent (LOI) were received by the state from operators seeking licensing. No state-sanctioned online gaming is actually taking place in Sikkim due in part to the central government’s introducing the Information Technology (Due diligence observed by Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules 2011, which charged Internet companies with preventing the spread of various socially undesirable material, including racism, kiddie porn, and anything “relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling.”
In 2002, Sikkim granted a license to Playwin to run its state lottery. It is the officially sanctioned online lottery and the only one of its kind in the country. The state revenue from lottery sales surged from 1% to over 20% once it was played online. Players can play from their mobile phone and from computers countrywide. Exclusively operated by Pan India Network Ltd., Playwin Lotto Games accepts bets from players nationwide, making Playwin unique among India’s otherwise localized legal gaming activities and worth more than 50 billion ($1.12 billion USD) in annual revenues.
India also permits sites that operate rummy games and games of skill. However, games that legally fall into the “games of skill” category – such as poker – have not been specified. The country has yet to introduce regulations for online casinos.
With the IT Due Diligence Rules 2011, it seems that any content relating to online gambling is prohibited and access to such content may be blocked. Payment gateways for “gambling” websites are also blocked by the Reserve Bank of India, making it difficult to start online gambling operations.
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