Indian poker players in the southern state of Tamil Nadu (TN) were left disappointed in August 2020 after they learn that the TN government had passed the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act which banned all forms of online gambling.
The online poker market in Tamil Nadu was growing at a rapid rate especially with the younger generation who took a strong interest in the game during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Top online poker operators such as PokerBaazi, Adda52 and PokerStars India decided to exit the TN online poker market in light of the ban.
Those violating the new laws would face a fine of 10,000 rupees ($160) and a max of 2 years in prison.
Court Strikes Down Online Gambling Ban
Online gambling operators filed a petition to revoke the ban as they felt that the law did not make a proper distinction between games of chance and games of skill. They argued the online poker was a game of skill and should not be banned.
The Madras High Court reviewed the new gaming law and ruled against it on the basis that it was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy said it violated the constitution of India (Article 19(1) (g)) which gives every individual the right to carry out their own trade or profession.
The Court ruled that the new law was excessive and unreasonable which came as good news to online poker players in TN. The Court has also instructed the TN government to come out with a new set of rules that would regulate the online gambling market in the state instead of banning it outright.
Poker Operators Return To TN
A number of online poker operators have already started offering services in Tamil Nadu now that the ban has been struck down by the court. Some of the online poker operators that have returned include PokerBaazi, Spartan Poker, Adda52 and MPL poker.
PokerStars India did not return to Tamil Nadu along with the rest of the operators but took some time off and is expected to be back in action by the end of September. One reason for PokerStars India being cautious is because the poker operator does not want to have any black mark against its name for operating in a grey market.
PokerStars is the biggest online poker operator in the world and has stopped operating in grey markets in recent years under the new ownership of Flutter Entertainment. Now that other poker operators have returned, PokerStars India is keen to once again offer its services in the south Indian state.
Special Diwali Promotions
The timing works well for online poker operators as it gives them sufficient time to relaunch in Tamil Nadu and prepare for the Diwali festival season. Diwali is the biggest Hindu festival in India and falls on 04 November this year.
The top poker operators in India tend to run special promotions and offer big bonuses to celebrate Diwali. Online poker traffic tends to spike in the lead up to Diwali as poker operators run a number of big tournaments.
PokerBaazi has already announced the second edition of its biggest standalone poker tournament in India. EndBoss 2021 is set to run from October 20 to 25 and will feature a massive guaranteed prize pool of 5 crore rupees. PokerStars India is also running a special Diwali promotion with freerolls taking place from October 27 to November 30 with over $6,500 in free prizes being given away.
Online poker players in Tamil Nadu will now be able to participate in these Diwali promotions as it is no longer illegal to play online poker in the state.

This site is registered on as a development site.