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Vivek Satyana is a social researcher and a lecturer of international studies; he has a background in law and statistics.

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Online Gambling and Guiding Laws

Gambling In India

  • Regulation of gambling
  • The Public Gaming Act, 1867
  • The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)
  • Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Internet gambling
  • Enforcement over foreign jurisdictions
  • In Conclusion

Online Gambling and Guiding Laws

On August 18, 1995, the world’s first casino emerged; the Internet Casinos Inc. (ICI) operated over eighteen different games. Over 1,400 websites mostly from the small Islands in the Caribbean have emerged having generated over $3 billion a year. In fact, no other business online generates more revenue like gambling.

Interestingly, out of over 15 million gamblers online, about 30% of them are from Asia. Among the many websites they visit, spend time and money on, is sure to be part of the list.

Getting started is simple; a credit card can get you started in minutes. You can open up an offshore currency account with a gambling site. You can bet on almost anything, from football to horse racing to Formula One. Money can be staked on anything. Either you win or lose money, your balances reflects on your online account. Same balances can be emailed to you or reserved for subsequent bets.

 In India, gambling thrives to a certain extent; but policymakers do not encourage it. India needs to be clear regarding its socio-cultural context. India’s gambling industry is worth over $8 billion as stringent laws have checkmated the proliferation of casinos and other gaming centers like many countries. In India, lottery gaming still remains popular.

Gambling is highly regulated, controlled and not illegal. India features gambling in its constitution meaning that the government has the power to enact laws that regulate gambling in various states. Different states approach gambling in various ways according to the laws prevalent in the state.  Some states have banned lottery while it’s permissible to others.

Regulation of gambling

The court defines gambling as “Winning a prize after the payment of a price”. A game shall be said to be gambling if it is dependent on chance or luck to have a desirable outcome. As a result of this, Indian courts have resolved that a few card games and horse racing are not betting.

However, the betting or gambling is not taken as a constitutional right in India. But it would be pointed that state government run lotteries significantly contributes to the state’s exchequer of several states. Hence there’s no complete prohibition to gambling.

Legislation applicable to gambling:

The Public Gaming Act, 1867

The Act provides prosecution for gambling publicly and for harboring a “common gaming house”. This act also empowers the state government to pass laws that regulate public gambling in separate jurisdictions.

The penal legislation in corresponding states has been amended considering gambling policies.

The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)

All commercial contracts in India are governed by ICA.

The ICA governs all commercial contracts in India. Under the ICA, there is a contract that cannot be enforced and that’s the wavering contract. Lottery, gambling and other prized games can be said to be wagering contracts and they cannot be enforced. Wagering contracts are not illegal and thereby cannot be enforced in the court of law.

Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998

This Act provides a platform for organizing lotteries within the country. This act also promotes as well as prohibits lotteries in line with territorial jurisdiction. Unauthorized lotteries can be penalized by the India Penal Code.

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 294A deals with keeping lottery office, and it states that anyone keeping an office not been for the purpose of a state lottery authorized by the state government shall be punished by imprisonment extending for a period of six months or a fine or both.

Furthermore, whosoever publishes a proposal to pay a certain sum or deliver goods or propose to do such a thing for the benefit of someone shall be punishable with a fine which may exceed a thousand rupees.

Internet gambling

For online gambling, the law is also applicable. All gambling contracts are referred to as wagering contracts and as such cannot be enforced under the ICA. As stated earlier, the online lottery is still the most popular internet gambling platform in India.

Many companies marketing and distributing government sponsored lotteries through the internet are not permitted to sell their services in stated that banned lotteries

There are cases where a state has banned the lotteries of other states including online lotteries.  Recently, the High Court in Karratha upheld the decision of its government impose a lottery free zone. It imposed bans on other states including online lotteries. All terminals and stores selling online lotteries were shut down.

Enforcement over foreign jurisdictions

Consider the hosting company was operated in India; it may be tough for the authorities to ban online companies issuing a directive to shut down.

In Conclusion

Gambling online is strictly regulated with a lot of limits to grow. Currently, the regulatory framework has made it tough for offshore sites to target gamblers in India. It is only Indian companies that can sell state government lotteries in certain territories.

The authority is in every way making attempt to block gambling sites from prospering in the country.