Two licensed gambling operators in the Himalayan state of Sikkim have finally launched their online operations. Golden Gaming International (formerly known as Maarm International) and Essel Group (operating the Playwin brand) now offer online keno and virtual horse racing to residents of the state.
Golden Gaming International Director, Manoj Sethi, confirmed that the company started its online operations in Sikkim since November in approximately 50 of its outlets. Sethi revealed that the operator plans to launch other games such as blackjack, poker, roulette and cricket betting, which is extremely popular in India. These plans of Golden Gaming International should become reality in the next couple of months, according to the company’s Director. Sethi also added that the operations would be scaled-up as soon as cricket betting and other online games go live.
Sources reveal that Essel Group launched similar operations as well as that the company also wants to expand its offer by enriching it with interactive games and sports betting products. Reportedly, a group of other licence-holders are planning to start online operations in Sikkim in the months to come too.
Starting the first online operations in the state has been expected since the Sikkim Online Gaming Amendment Bill 2015 was passed earlier this year. The bill made it legal for authorised operators to launch casino, poker and sports betting via “intranet gaming terminals” in their betting shops.
The first version of this legislation would’ve made it possible for Sikkim operators to offer their services in other states as well; however, the central government was against this idea. As a result, currently only Sikkim’s residents and tourists are allowed to access the approved gaming terminals.