The Stars Group will launch PokerStars India on April 17, the company announced.
The site will be available to players in the majority of Indian states, the company said in a press release. It will be offered through a partnership with Sugal & Damani Group, a conglomerate active in lottery and gaming. PokerStars.in will be operated by Sachiko Gaming, a Sugal & Damani subsidiary of Sugal & Damani with The Stars Group licensing its brand and supplying certain support services.
“The popularity of poker in India is growing and we are excited to build the market with the support of the global leader in online poker,” Sugal & Damani chief executive Kamlesh Vijay said in the release.
The site will be available on desktop and mobile devices with Indian Rupees as the main currency. It will feature localized versions of PokerStars’ most popular tournaments and events.
Players in some Indian states, however, will not be able to access the site due to undefined rules on real money gambling. They include Assam, Odisha and Telangana.
Sugal & Damani operates a network of 25,000 lottery point of sale terminals in the states of Punjab Maharashtra, Sikkim, Mizoram, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh. Through a subsidiary, it is also active in the African lottery market under the Winlot brand, with 15,000 terminals operating on the continent.
In another story involving PokerStars, the UK Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that the gambling site cannot air a TV ad and warned PokerStars against portraying gambling in a socially irresponsible manner or in the context of recklessness.
The authority said it received complaints that the ad in question sought to exploit inexperienced poker players by suggesting that they could easily excel at the game and make large winnings.
According to SBC News, the ad featured a voice-over which prompted the complaints by stating: “Here you are, the moment when bluffing is the only way to win, you’re freaking out kiddo, but think about all those times you bluffed yourself. Like the pull-up bar waiting for you to get back in-shape, that book you’re definitely going to read, your parents never ever had sex. Use that talent because if you can bluff yourself, you can bluff anyone. PokerStars, you’re already a great poker player”.
In its ruling the authority said viewers could interpret the advert to mean that if they could bluff through the real-life experiences shown in the broadcast, they could become great poker players.
PokerStars disputed the ruling saying the ad didn’t suggest that players could win a lot of money, but only humorously suggested the main protagonist was an individual in possession of one of the skills necessary to play poker and how it was used in other aspects of life.