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Report No. 276

(g) Nagaland

The Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2015

5.59 The Act, 2015 defines "Gambling" as the act of "wagering or betting on games of chance but does not include betting or wagering on games of skill". "Wagering" or "Betting", has been defined in section 2(5) as "the staking of money or virtual currency, whether or not it is equivalent to a recognized currency".

5.60 The Nagaland Act is the only legislation in India, section 2(3) thereof defines the term, "games of skill", to "include all such games where there is preponderance of skill over chance, including where the skill relates to strategising the manner of placing wagers or placing bets or where the skill lies in team selection or selection of virtual stocks based on analysis or where the skill relates to the manner in which the moves are made, whether through deployment of physical or mental skill and acumen".

5.61 The Explanation to section 2(3) broadens the ambit of "games of skill" in the following words:

i. All Games provided in Schedule A of this Act shall fall under the category of "Games of Skill"

ii. 'Games' which have been declared or determined to be 'games of skill' by Indian or International courts or other statutes, or games where there are domestic and international competitions and tournaments, or games which can be determined to be 'games of skill' shall further be entitled to be included in Schedule A.

iii. Games of skill may be (a) Card based and (b) action/ virtual sports/ adventure/ mystery and (c) calculation/ strategy/ quiz based.

5.62 Section 2(4) of the Act, 2015 states that "Games of chance", subject to the provision of section 2(3), are defined to mean "all such games where there is preponderance of chance over skill". Schedule A to the Act lays down a detailed list of games that are considered to be 'games of skill' for the purpose of the Nagaland Act. These games are as follows:

1. Chess

2. Sudoku

3. Quizzes

4. Binary Options

5. Bridge

6. Poker

7. Rummy

8. Nap

9. Spades

10. Auction

11. Solitaire

12. Virtual Golf

13. Virtual racing games, including virtual horse racing, virtual car racing, etc.

14. Virtual sports, including virtual soccer, virtual cricket, virtual archery, virtual snooker/ bridge/ pool

15. Virtual fighting

16. Virtual wrestling

17. Virtual boxing

18. Virtual combat games

19. Virtual adventure games

20. Virtual mystery and detective games

21. Virtual stock/ monopoly games

22. Virtual team selection games

23. Virtual fantasy games

5.63 The Nagaland Act seeks to have pan-India application by virtue of the Explanation to section 2(1) and section 2(2). The Explanation to section 2(1) reads as follows:

Once a licence has been obtained under this Act, wagering or betting on online 'games of skill' or making profit by providing a medium for playing 'games of skill' shall not amount to gambling so long as they are being provided to players and are being accessed by players operating from territories where 'games of skill' are exempted from the ambit of gambling.

5.64 Section 2(2) defines the term "territory" for the purpose of this Act, as "any territory in India in which "games of skill" are permitted, and are recognised as being exempted from the ambit of "gambling"".

5.65 A conjoint reading of section 2(2) and the Explanation to section 2(1), provides for a pan India application of the Nagaland Act, 2015 in matters of Online Gaming, to all those States where the games so being offered are legally permissible 'games of skill'.

5.66 Section 3 provides that as long as a licencee under it is not providing a portal to players from other territories, games that are prohibited or considered to be gambling in those territories, the same shall be considered to be a genuine business venture not amounting to gambling.

5.67 Further, Rule 3(1) of the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Gaming Rules, 2016 makes eligible for a licence, only those individuals/ companies/ firms that are not engaged in 'gambling'.



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