From a Taboo to Tabloids today! Centuries ago the Mughal Empire introduced the card game Ganjifa to the Indian society. During their rule, card games were an essential part of the kingdom. While initially the game was played for leisure, today it has taken a new turn. Popular card games played in India are Teen Patti, Rummy, Dehla Pakad etc. While a recreational activity turned into a form of betting in most of the rural and urban spaces, the association of poker with our culture has always remained.
Poker industry or online gaming in India has taken to the digital sphere in the age of internet. Availability of localized content for the Indian audience has catered to the young population. Indian game developers are also taking the initiative to build games in multiple vernacular languages and themes for the local gaming audience. With a projected user base of more than 628 million gamers in the country today, the taboo surrounding the topic is still prevalent. The industry that leaped towards a huge, funded industry is still lagging in informing the masses about the reality of it. Here’s what Poker Pro, Deepak Bothra has to say about how he excels at the game :
A popular belief that card games and casinos are a glitzy affair is not entirely true. Betting and gambling laws in India are dictated by each state. While skill-based games are usually permitted under most laws, games of chance are prohibited under The Public Gambling Act, 1867 and gaming laws enacted in respective Indian states. Therefore, games of skill are permitted, but games of chance still require review and the permission of the state government.
Whether a game is a game of skill or a game of chance depends on each individual case as decided upon by judicial pronouncements. Horse betting, fantasy sports, rummy and poker have been predominantly declared as games of skill. Ideological issues held by a mass public had eventually resulted in the poker industry being looked at in a derogatory manner. While the acceptance of the game as a skill is itself a huge victory, what also needs to be done is to familiarize the topic and project it as a skill-based society.
The portrayal of poker in popular art forms such as texts, films, pop songs etc., consciously would bring about a massive ideological change in the decades to come. Legal or illegal, poker games are here to stay, evolve and educate! To know more about how poker has evolved in India and the world, keep reading GutshotMagazine.com