[Exclusive] WinZO files a writ petition challenging the Odisha Gambling Act, 1955

Tictok Skill Games Private Limited has filed a writ petition before the Odisha High Court challenging the provisions of the Odisha Prevention of Gambling Act, 1955 as unconstitutional. The company operates a vernacular social gaming platform under the brand name WinZO Games.

The law prohibits all forms of gaming for stakes. This law is the reason that fantasy sports and other gaming for stake platforms are not available for the residents of Odisha.

The petition was listed on November 15 for admission hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Muralidhar. The next hearing is on February 14, 2022.

Kalinga TV has reported that the High Court has issued notices to the respondents’ the State of Odisha and the Director-General of Police (Odisha). The petition also lists WinZO founders Paavan Nanda and Saumya Singh Rathore as the other petitioners.

The petition comes at a time when a similar challenge is pending before the Karnataka High Court under the recently enacted gaming ban law. Recently, in a landmark ruling, the Madras High Court had struck down a similar law that banned all games for stakes. The Odisha law, however, is an old enactment and is in force for decades while Tamil Nadu and Karnataka ban laws were recently enacted.

In the last reported funding round, WinZO has raised $65 million in a Series C funding round, led by California-based Griffin Gaming Partners, taking the total tally of capital raised by the company to $90 million. The social gaming platform has recently set up a $20 million fund for the Indian game developer ecosystem.

This is a developing story. Details to be updated.