The Indian state of Nagaland has issued its first online skill games license to an online poker operator.
On Wednesday, the Nagaland State Lotteries office awarded an online skill games license to M/s K365 Web Assets Pvt Ltd, which operates online poker and rummy portal Khelo365.com. For the moment, K365’s license only covers its poker operations, which include No Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha games.
Nagaland’s governor signed the landmark Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act 2016 in April, becoming the first Indian state to formally authorize online games of skill for stakes.
Nagaland began issuing Letters of Intent to would-be skill game licensees in August, with the first LOI going to Club Empire Tech Pvt Lgd. Nagaland has since issued a further 10 LOIs to different companies but K365 was first to get its paperwork past the government inspectors.
K365 managing director Vinod Manoharan expressed pride at being first past the skill games post and predicted that Nagaland’s licensing regime “will end the debate on the legality of online poker once and for all, and will enable this industry to boom.” Manoharan said K365 was putting the finishing touches on a marketing campaign aimed at alerting India’s poker players as to the new reality.
The Nagaland license permits K365 to accept customers from all states or union territories that have exempted games of skill from their list of prohibited gambling activities. Nagaland licensees are required to declare that they don’t “have any interest whatsoever, directly or indirectly, with any company or activity, whether in India or not, which engages in or operates ‘games of chance’ or ‘gambling’.”
Nagaland charges its licensees an annual fee of Rs.1m ($15k) per game, or Rs.2.5m for a “bouquet” of games for the first three years and Rs. 2m per game per year after that or Rs. 5m for a further two-year bouquet. Licensees also have to pay a quite reasonable 0.5% of gross revenue tax to the state.