Sikkim is widely known as the least populous state in India, but it offers the most liberal online gaming laws. When it comes to the gambling legalisation, the concerned state appears on second position in the list. But, it has become the first state to legalise internet gambling. With the movement of time, internet gambling has turned into a global business. An Indian can take participation in internet gambling by the use of e-wallets. The Sikkim Regulation of Gambling Act was established in 2005 to authorise the government to allow individual gambling houses. However, the foreign investments towards gambling are illegal under Sikkim gambling law.
Three Games Come to Sikkim Gambling Law
- Sports Betting
Sports Betting Law
Sports Betting came under the banner of Sikkim Online Gaming Amendment Rules in August 2009. The act, which was introduced to make online sports betting legal in Sikkim, includes cricket, football, lawn tennis, chess, golf, and horse-race.
India’s first online betting centre
In 2016, Sikkim State Government allowed three companies, including Golden Gaming International, to establish online sports betting centres. Under the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act 2008, the cabinet wanted to permit these companies for operating betting only through an intranet connection. Hence, Golden Gaming International Private Limited introduced country’s first online sports betting centre in Gangtok; World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev inaugurated it. The organising team requested him to place a bet on the ongoing football games. But, the cricketer refused to put the first bet. Tourists from West Bengal are the primary target market of Golden Gaming International Pvt Ltd. Online gaming and betting activities were launched in Sikkim in 2001 when the first online lottery was organized. After a long struggle; the Home Ministry permitted the Sikkim Cabinet to regulate betting activities in April 2014. While doing this, the Union Ministry instructed the State Ministry to operate the same without disturbing other States as well as Union territories.
The Sikkim Cabinet allowed two hotels to operate casinos. Hotel Royal Plaza, which started its operation as a three-star hotel and turned to a five-star hotel, introduced the first casino in Sikkim on Mar. 1, 2009. However, Sikkim Casino Games (Control and Tax) Rules were defined by the state government in 2007. Casino Mahjong, the second casino of the state, was inaugurated on June 8, 2011, at Mayfair Spa Resort. Blessed with separate poker rooms, both the casinos offer internationally acknowledged games like Flush, 3 Card Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Marriage (Paplu), Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Casino War, Texas Hold em, Kitty, and slot machines. The latest announcement was made by India’s largest chain of Hotels and Casinos, Delta Corp Limited. This group had announced a Casino Deltin Denzong in Denzong Regency (it is one of Sikkim’s most luxurious hotels which is located 6,000 feet above sea level) in January 2017.
Legal Casino Games
- Black Jack
- Casino Brag
- Poker Dice
- Super Pan 9
Sikkim Government issued two short memorandums on 11/6/2009 which was followed by the addition of sports betting to Sikkim Online Gaming Rules (2009) on 1/8/2009. To make a clear picture of the legality of sports betting, a separate memorandum was issued by the cabinet on 20/8/2009. In 2010, the cabinet had granted several letters of intent to potential operators with the expectation for cricket betting sites and online casinos within a couple of months. In 2011, tax for land-based casinos earned 10% of gross gaming yield for the very first time.
If you are interested in bringing your website under the gambling laws powered by the state government, you need to follow the below mentioned points. If your portal fulfils all basic requirements, you can make your gambling site licensed by the Government of Sikkim. Here we go with its seven necessities.
- Full name of the website
- Date of license granted
- Address of website’s registered office
- License number of the website
- A summary of the arrangements for registration
- A statement that the online game is regulated in Sikkim
- A statement telling that a person under 18 years is not allowed
Sikkim income tax officials raided a casino under section 133(A) of Income Tax Act 1961. The TRPL approached High Court to make an investigation after this raid. As per East District Police Superintendent Manoj Tiwari, the license issued to Casino Sikkim expired in April 2014. Besides, Royal Plaza had never upgraded to the 5-star category as mandated by the Sikkim government’s Casino Act and rules. Surprisingly, the Gaming and Casino industry have not attracted the Indian gaming enthusiasts to a significant extent. Goa, over the years, crossed the maximum span in this context.
Is government trying to promote Sikkim as a major gaming destination?
It is believed that the government of Sikkim is taking incentives to promote the gaming industry. Licenses have been given to many gaming operators but some of these licenses have faced various legal difficulties. It was due to the laws made by the Central government to block payment gateways and ban online gambling websites. So, the State Government is taking initiatives to tackle the problems faced by Casino industry.