Games of Skill in India
Participation and engagement in gaming is a universally practiced and pursued recreational and social activity offering opportunities for consumer engagement, brand promotion, fan engagement and interest. Games can be in the form of crossword puzzles or quizzes or in more advanced and interactive forms such as card games or fantasy sports.
In regulating those offering such games, Indian laws differentiate between games of skill and games of chance, and specify a strict prohibition on participation and offer of games of chance for stakes, while taking a more favourable position with games of skill.
The differential treatment accorded to games of skill and games of chance, with the former permitted and the latter prohibited, has been a historic feature of Indian law. Such differentiation appears to arise out of the historic treatment of gambling in India, where while it features in Indian culture and history across millennia, it comes attached with negative connotations and a certain stigma.
This paper titled “Games of Skill in India: A Proposal for Reform” outlines the legal treatment of games of skill under Indian law, highlights certain incongruities in the current legal position and provides recommendations for reform that would provide clarity and impetus to the development and offering of such games in India.