Thiruvananthapuram: All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), a not-for-profit organisation working for the promotion of sporting and gaming activities, has given a representation to Kerala government to exempt poker, fantasy games and bridge from the ambit of Kerala Gaming Act 1960. A 1976 notification issued by the Kerala government under Section 14A of the Act already exempts games such as rummy, darts, shooting contests and cup and coin contests from the list of illegal games. In what could fetch additional tax revenues to the state, Poker, a card-based game, also should be added to the list as per new demands.
“Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Nalini Netto has promised to consider including poker on the list. States like Karnataka, West Bengal and Nagaland have acknowledged poker as a game. They have started to reap the benefit as poker leagues are being organised commonly,” said Roland Lander, CEO of AIGF. The online poker game portals have tied up with educational institutions like IITs to promote the skill-based games, says gaming lawyer Jay Sayta.
“There is massive interest in poker and card games among college goers. This could transcend into revenue and can bring in international players of poker and rummy,” Mr Sayta said. Online poker networks worth anywhere between Rs 100 crore and `8 crore have a presence in Indian market. Around 30 percent of poker leagues transcend as tax revenues and promote economic activities, AIGF delegation said. “AIGF wants to ensure that illegal fly-by-night entities do not operate in the gaming sector,” Mr Lander added. Presently, AIGF is also lobbying for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in gambling, betting and lottery.