Anyone with credit cards can create an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them free to place bets on sports like slot Wimbledon, cricket, horse racing and Formula One, or join a virtual casino to play slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker etc. Companies like Flutter and Bet mart accept bets on anything from who is going to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range between a nickel to thousands and according to whether you win or lose the amount is automatically adjusted to your account.
The final balance can then either be mailed to you or left for future bets. The law relating to online gambling in India needs to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. First, gambling, although not absolutely prohibited in India, does not receive express encouragement by policy makers. The Indian organized gambling industry is estimated to be worth around US$8 billion. While stringent laws have checked the proliferation of casinos and traditional gaming centres as in lots of other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains the most post popular type of gambling.
Though gambling is not illegal, this can be a highly controlled and regulated activity. Modern India is a quasi-federal Constitutional democracy and the powers to legislate are distributed at the federal and also the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, this implies that the state governments have the authority to enact laws as a way to regulate gambling in the respective states. Thus, there is no single law governing gambling in the entire country. Different states have different laws governing gambling in addition to the laws that have an application across the country. While some states have banned lotteries, other states allow state government lotteries marketed and distributed in other lottery playing and promoting states through private entities.
Regulation of gambling
The courts have defined gambling as ‘the payment of a cost for to be able to win a prize’. The dominant element of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A casino game could be deemed to be gambling if the element of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. Due to this fact, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and some card games aren’t gambling. The right to attempt the business enterprise of gambling and lotteries isn’t considered as a simple right protected by the Constitution of India. It could however be remarked that hawaii government run lotteries make significant contributions to hawaii exchequer of several state governments and the Union government, and hence there is a resistance to perform prohibition.
The next legislation is pertinent to gambling:
The Public Gaming Act, 1867
This Act provides punishment for public gambling and for keeping of a ‘common gaming house’. This Act also authorises the state governments to enact laws to modify public gambling within their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have already been amended relative to their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not have any direct impact on online gambling unless a broad interpretation is given to this is of common gaming house in order to include virtual forums aswell.
The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)
The ICA is a codified umbrella legislation that governs all commercial contracts in India. Beneath the ICA, a wagering contract may be the one which can’t be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements through wager are void, and no suit will be brought for recovering anything purported to be won on any wager or entrusted to any person to abide by the consequence of any game or other uncertain event which any wager is made’. Gambling, lottery and prize games have held to be wagering contracts and therefore void and unenforceable. While a wagering contract is not illegal, it can’t be enforced in a court of law. Thus, the courts will not entertain any cause of action that arises out of a wagering contract.
Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998
This Act offers a framework for organizing lotteries in the country. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to promote along with prohibit lotteries of their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also offers the manner in which the lotteries should be conducted and prescribes punishment in the event of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by hawaii have been made an offence under the Indian Penal Code. Several non-lottery playing states, like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, have prohibited the sale of other state-government lotteries under this Act.
Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 294A handles keeping lottery office. It says that whoever keeps any office or place for the purpose of drawing any lottery not being truly a State lottery or perhaps a lottery authorised by the State Government, will be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which might extend to half a year, or with fine, or with both.
And whoever publishes any proposal to pay any sum, or even to deliver any goods, or even to do or forbear doing anything for the advantage of anybody, on any event or contingency relative or applicable to the drawing of any ticket, lot, number or figure in any such lottery, will be punished with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
The law related to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts and it is extremely hard to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.