Skill based Gaming & Tournaments
Skill-based gaming has a well-established legal, social and commercial history. From classic board games to major sports tournaments, games of skill have long offered participants a chance to compete based on one’s ability. Today, games of skill are available on most major media sites like AOL, MSN, & Yahoo and others, and are complemented by an emerging electronic sports (eSports) industry that lets professional gamer compete in popular video games with real money at stake.
Are Skill-based Tournaments Gambling?
Cash-based tournaments in games of skill are not considered gambling because the generally accepted definition of gambling involves three specific things: (1) the award of a prize, (2) paid-in consideration (meaning entrants pay to compete) and (3) an outcome determined on the basis of chance. Without all three of these elements, a competition that reward real prizes is not gambling. In the case of MGM Games & tournaments, outcomes are not determined by chance, but are rather achieved through a player’s skill or ability, making these tournaments legal in most of India.
The two main enactments dealing with gaming in India are the pre-Independence Public Gambling Act, 1867 (PGA) and the Prize Competitions Act, 1955 (PCA). The PGA criminalizes the act of gambling in a public forum in India and the keeping of a ‘common gaming house’. Common gaming-house is defined as any house, walled enclosure, room or place in which cards, dice, tables or other instruments of gaming are kept or used for the profit or gain of the person owning, occupying, using or keeping such house, enclosure, room or place, whether by way of charge for the use of the instruments of gaming, or of the house, enclosure, room or place or otherwise howsoever.
As per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India (Entries 34 and 62 of List II), the state governments have been authorized to make laws on betting and gambling. Therefore, where a state legislation on gambling exists, it prevails over the PGA, which is a central legislation promulgated earlier in time. Accordingly, in addition to the PGA, a number of states in India have enacted legislation to govern gambling and gaming within these states.
Section 12 of the Public Gambling Act exempts games of skill from the penal provisions against gambling – ‘Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Act contained shall be held to apply to any game of mere skill wherever played’.
The games & tournaments hosted on the MGM platform are ‘Games of Skills’, such that the outcome/success in the games is directly dependent on the User’s effort, performance and skill. By choosing how to play, the actions of Users shall have direct impact on the game.
MGM is not charging any participation fee to play in the tournaments. It is purely dependent on the skills and performance of the player in the game. The performance of a User ought to improve with time and practice.
MGM shall not be liable if users do not adhere to the Game & tournament rules or otherwise engage in gambling or betting activities on the Platform.
‘Games of Skill’, under Indian law, are excluded from the ambit of gambling legislation’s including, the Public Gambling Act of 1867 and other state enactments except in the states of Assam, Odisha, Nagaland, Sikkim and Telangana.
Hence, the individuals residing in the Restricted States should not participate in any Contest or Mobile Games offered on the Platform. Any participation by such individuals shall be at their sole risk and discretion and MGM shall not be liable to refund or reimburse any injury or damages suffered by such individuals.