Meghalaya legalises fantasy gaming, will provide operating license

The Meghalaya government has legalised gaming with stakes, including both games of skills -- like fantasy sports, poker and rummy -- and games of chance.

The state government, led by chief minister Conrad Sangma, approved the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Ordinance, 2021 to regulate gaming last month.

Instead of prohibiting games of stake, Meghalaya, like other Northeastern states of Nagaland and Sikkim, has taken the regulatory approach that legalises gaming and gambling by providing licenses to operators.

According to the new law, no games of skills or chance, including betting or wagering, shall be played, organised or exhibited in any form without a license.

Companies, including fantasy gaming platforms, can apply for a license by writing to the state government.

The license, unless cancelled or surrendered, will be valid for five years and the licensee shall pay a royalty to the licensing authority on a timely basis.

The ordinance also calls for setting up a Meghalaya Gaming Commission that will monitor the gaming activities in the state.

Policy directions will be issued for these to be played in a fair and transparent manner. Licensees will be monitored for compliance through periodical reports to the government. The Commission will also act as a redressal body for disputes between players and the operators (licensees).

The Commission will comprise a retired judge of the High Court who shall act as the chairperson, a person having vast experience in the gaming industry, and a person from a civil society organisation / non-governmental organisation. 

The term of the chairperson and the other members will be three years and can be extended for another three years or until the age of 65.

Notably, Dream11, My11Circle, MyTeam11 and HalaPlay - some of the largest fantasy gaming platforms of India, do not permit users from Sikkim and Nagaland to participate in paid contests.

Although the two states have legalised fantasy sports, platforms have refrained from obtaining operating licenses.