Gujarat, India: Poker is Not a Game of Skill!3 years ago
One of the main reasons why poker became so popular over the years is its status as a game of skill. Even though the edges in poker are extremely tiny and an amateur player can sometimes mop the floor with hundreds of professionals in a single tournament, given enough time the cream will always rise to the top. Besides, the fact that recreational poker enthusiasts can enjoy positive results in the short term makes the game fun and exciting for everyone, even if the long-term profits are reserved for the most skilled and patient players out there.
Unfortunately, one of the main reasons for the online poker decline in the recent years is the fact that legislators from various countries either fail to recognize poker as a game of skill or choose to ignore that fact when constructing their restrictive laws. Recently Gujarat High Court in India, dismissed a petition that sought to define poker as a game of skill.
After a series of raids on local card clubs Indian Poker Association (IPA) - supported by many other industry organizations like Dominance Games, AAA Gaming etc. - decided to address the uncertain legal status of poker in Gujarat state by petitioning the court to recognize poker as a game of skill. A positive ruling would prevent courts from clumping poker with the rest of illegal gambling games in accordance with the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act.
IPA certainly did their homework, they submitted a ton of evidence, brought two professional poker players Abhishek Goindi and Aditya Wadhwani as expert witnesses and using a combination of various data sources (including tournament results, video footage, and hand analysis) attempted to prove to the court, that while luck is certainly a part of the game, poker is, at the end of the day, a game of skill. Despite the IPA considerable efforts, Justice Rajesh H. Shukla dismissed the petition.
Boom or Bust?
There's a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to the legality of poker in India. Some states like Gujarat and Telangana aim to outlaw it, while others actively promote regulation. In the April of 2016 state of Nagaland made online poker legal which - to the surprise of no one - was a really good decision for the state economy. The fact that poker in India is currently in a period of stasis is a really big deal. Gujarat has a population of 63 million which means that it has more potential players than California and Florida combined.
After the events of Black Friday followed by a steady stream of bad news about poker legislation in other countries (Spain, France and Australia to name a few), the industry is in need of another boom that more than a billion people living in India could certainly provide.
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