2014 saw myriad of changes in Indian poker world. There was a sudden but phenomenal growth in online poker as the number of online poker players increased substantially. Noticing this poker development in the country, many new organizations started online poker operations in India but only a few survived in this complex gaming industry. Out of these, there do exist few luminaries who have set up the protocols for the offline and online poker, and are presently leading the world of Indian poker. In our ‘Things to watch out in 2015’ Series, we present the Poker Barons to Watch out in 2015.
Anuj Gupta is the Founder Chairman of Gaussian Networks Private Limited, the holding company of adda52.com. He is a visionary leader who has fought all odds to bring online card gaming to an extent that has never been seen in India before. The Alumnus of IIT Delhi has given a new magnitude to the online poker industry in India. Being the CEO of India’s largest online poker company – Adda52.com, Anuj has been the the driving force behind the poker boom in the country. Adda52.com was launched in Jan 2012 and since has become the largest online poker site in India.
Jaydev Modi is the Chairman of Delta Corp Ltd that owns and operates two of the biggest Goa casinos: Deltin Royale and Deltin JAQK in the Mandavi waters. 58-year old Modi is popularly known for creating, developing and managing businesses for more than 35 years. Though he retired at the age of 50 but boredom and his passion for ‘gaming’ brought him back to the professional world. Under his leadership Delta Corp got into the gaming business between 2008-10 with Casino Royale Goa and King’s Casino. But his journey didn’t end here. He now has 3 of the 5 offshore casino licenses given by the Government of Goa. In the last 6 years, Delta Corp has gone from 1-ship, 10-12 table operation to 200 tables today. In March 2014, Delta Corp launched THE DELTIN, India’s largest integrated casino resort in Daman.
Twenty-six years back, Martin was a shop-owner in Coimbatore whose main income came from selling lottery tickets. Today, this 40-year-old lottery King is richer than new economy czar N R Narayana Murthy or old economy titan Dhirubhai Ambani. Being the sole distributor for 28 Sikkim government lottery schemes, 17 Tamil Nadu schemes and six Arunachal Pradesh schemes, he sells around 12 million lottery tickets across the country. Lottery King Santiago Martin is the Managing Chairman of the Future Gaming Group.
Formerly known to be Martin Lottery Agencies Ltd, Future Gaming Solutions Private Limited is the first company to get regular license from Sikkim government to launch online gaming in the state. They will offer online versions of poker, baccarat, roulette, and blackjack on their site but within the territory of the state as per Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008. If Future Gaming is able to pull this off and launch such a site then Martin will surely be the poker baron to watch in 2015.
Dilip Ray is an Ex- Member of the Parliament of India representing Orissa in the Rajya Sabha. Dilip Ray is the founder and Chairman Managing Director of Orissa based Mayfair Group of Hotels, a leading hospitality group in Eastern India. With a passion for low rise boutique hotels, he recently launched a full-fledged on-shore casino, the first of its kind in India, at Mayfair, Gangtok. Mayfair Hotels & Resorts is the first company to get the license to operate the first full-scale, regular and live casino in the country. If Mayfair is able to scale up and channelise poker traffic to Gangtok then they can definitely turn it into a sought after poker destination.
Sameer Rattonsey, Rajeev Kanjani, Amin Rozani
Three big names from the Indian poker scene – Sameer Rattonsey, Rajeev Kanjani and Amin Rozani have collaborated and acquired Goa’s most prestigious poker room i.e. Deltin Royale. The poker room on-board the Deltin Royale Casino is indeed the largest and most luxurious of poker rooms in India. The trio has kicked off things with a bang by announcing the return of the India Poker Championship tournament series, which will be hosted at Deltin Royale poker room from January 21 – 25.
With a collective poker experience of decades behind the 3 of them, the success of tournament poker in India could very well be defined by these gentlemen in 2015.