PokerStars enters Indian market
PokerStars India announced last week the long-awaited launch of its own gaming client in the world's second most populous market. PokerStars.IN will run under the local license separately from the rest of the world and Indian players will be able to start playing on Tuesday, April 17th. Its launch is followed by at least two years of local market research.
"In India, we have entered into an arrangement with a well-established domestic licensed lottery and gaming operator, which will give our brand access to this highly populated market and ability to build awareness for both our PokerStars brand and the game itself. PokerStars has helped to make poker one of the most popular skill-based games in the world and we look forward to Sachiko Gaming introducing the brand into the Indian market,” said Rafi Ashkenazi, Chief Executive Officer of the Stars Group.
The established partner company is Sugal & Damani Group, which is a pioneer of licensed lottery offices in India. The site's website will be run by its subsidiary Sachiko Gaming Private. It is closely linked to Sachar Gaming, which has previously offered online poker at Khelplay.com, running on MPN India.
Khelplay is licensed to operate online poker and other skill games across the country from the Indian state of Nagaland, and PokerStars will run under the same license. The word "skill" is important in this case. In India, there has been a series of litigation in recent years that did not involve poker, but the game Rummy. In October 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that it was a skill game and its online gambling did not fall under the Indian Gambling Act, and the poker operators began building on this verdict. It's no coincidence that the word "skill" is found in the PokerStars.IN press release six times.
It is unclear whether the gaming room, due to the aforementioned circumstances, will adjust the range of games in which skills have gained less and less space over recent years. But it is clear that Indian players will have a standard desktop and mobile client and play directly for Indian Rupie. The casino is also luring for the opening freeroll, in which it distributes 10 Lakh. All Indian customers on the international version of the game will be asked to switch to the newly created PokerStars.IN, whose player pool will be closed for players from other countries.
The PokerStars Indian Poker Room will be the fifth separate version of the parent room. In addition to its worldwide network, PokerStars also operates in separate markets in New Jersey, Portugal and Italy, and this year's PokerStars Europe was also launched for players from France, Spain and in the future also from Italy and Portugal. In the latter case, the game is not strictly closed even for those from other countries.
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