Sikkim Govt. To amend act and rules regarding online gaming

24 June 2015

Months after license holders for casinos declared their intention to start gaming services, the Sikkim govt. Continued to dither. There has been no clear timeline provided regarding online gaming in the state. The condition that online gaming in Sikkim would not cross its boundaries and would only be made available via intranet to those in the State, the government has asked Maarm, Future Gaming and Playwin to not begin operations in the State.

Director Sikkim Lotteries, KP Sharma, in an exclusive telephonic conversation with GLaws.in confirmed the same adding that the government is considering amendments that will be introduced to the existing Sikkim Online Gaming Regulations Act 2008. The changes will bring the rules in line with conditions that are in sync with “go-live” or permanent license. He added, “there are some legislative changes which need to be implemented in the existing framework, of which the critical change is regarding the conditions/clauses regarding the intranet. The Rules and Act amendments will be notified and passed in July, tentatively. We (the lotteries department) are awaiting instructions from the Sikkim government and will act in accordance with it. Regarding the commencement of operations, clarity is still awaited.”

The Sikkim Act and Rules that exist are in direct conflict with go live conditions of the license since it has terms such as ‘website’, ‘URL’ and ‘internet’ in line with the existing online gaming activities. A clarification from the Union Home Ministry in 2014, regarding online intranet gaming activities in April 2014 stating that online gaming should not traverse the boundaries of Sikkim had led to the commencement of online gaming previously in Sikkim.  The license holders since then have suffered losses financially and has also lost out on growth opportunities on account of the indecision of the Sikkim government’s indecision and dithering regarding the policy. Over six years waiting period has been standard for most online gaming operators and the companies are as yet unsure of when they can begin operations in full swing. 



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