By lobbying the Gujarat high court to stop local police officers from breaking up games, the Indian Poker Association (IPA) is fighting for the rights of players in India.
The IPA has called on the high court to classify poker as a “skill” game, after a recent incident at a local YMCA. Officers in Gujarat stormed in at an organized poker game.
The association explained that poker shouldn’t be subjected to the same treatment as activities such as blackjack, as poker isn’t a form of gambling. They did this in writing to the legal body.
The petition reads:
“Since poker is not gambling, it is not under the ambit of the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act, 1987. The expression “Poker” does not form part of ‘gaming or gambling.”
Can Court and IPA come to an Agreement?
Up to this point, the police forces have determined that they have the power to break up any games they can find, as they have defined that poker is a form of gambling.
The actions of the police are however illegal and arbitrary, as the IPA stated, poker isn’t gambling.
“India has long been touted as one of the “next big markets” for poker, but ambiguous laws and political red tape have, so far, hampered its progress. In fact, this latest incident is one of that reflects the differing views of poker around the world”.
People in India and China often find themselves in the middle of a police raid; this unlike poker players in most parts of Europe, the UK or Australia.
An official Chinese PokerStars’ tournament in 2015 even had to be shutdown after an unexpected police raid.
Emerging Markets Need Clarity
Players in China and India are waiting for the game to be regulated. Not only the players are harmed by these sorts of incidents, but also the casino and online operators.
The poker economy gets extremely messy with for example unclear laws and unlicensed venues.
India will need to iron out these sorts of problems before it can become the next big poker superpower. In one way or another, they need to agree on the legality of the beautiful game of poker.