India has welcomed PokerNation, the country’s new dedicated online poker site.
Tuesday saw the official launch of Pokernation.com, an online poker site operated by Playwin, the lottery and gaming brand of Pan India Network Ltd, which is part of the Essel Group conglomerate.
The site is part of MPN’s Indian Poker Network, which includes Khelplay and Thrill Poker, and joins a growing list of skill game sites available to India’s teeming masses. However, Playwin claims Pokernation is the first such site “dedicated only to the sport of poker and focused towards propagating its acceptance in the country.”
Aside from its poker-only focus – avoiding other locally popular skill games such as rummy – Pokernation’s VP of marketing Sree Ram Somayajula say the site stands out for its “emphasis on teaching the finer nuances of the game to beginners and amateurs.”
Pokernation’s business head Gautam Thawani said Playwin had conducted a pre-launch market study involving free poker tournaments with over 5k young adults across India, which led it to conclude that a “teach-learn-play” model was the way to go.
Pokernation.com contains some caveats regarding the unresolved question of the legality of online poker for stakes in India. The Indian state of Nagaland recently passed the Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion of Online Games of Skill Bill, the country’s first piece of legislation that explicitly authorizes playing online skill games for stakes, but only within the state’s borders.
Pokernation.com believes the games it offers are “widely acknowledged as those that require the application of skills and expertise,” and that the “applicable legal position” of various courts is that “a game that predominantly involves use of skill is not gambling and is not punishable.”
That said, Pokernation admits that its statements “do not amount to a legal opinion and should not be relied upon for legal and judicial purposes.” So… Teach-learn-play-run-and-hide?