A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with credit cards can set up an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them free to place bets on sporting events like Wimbledon, cricket, horse racing and Formula One, or join a virtual casino to play slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker etc. Companies like Flutter and Betmart accept bets on anything from who’s going to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range between a nickel to thousands and in accordance with whether you win or lose the total amount is automatically adjusted to your account. The final balance may 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. At the outset, gambling, but not absolutely prohibited in India, will 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 many other countries, barring hawaii of Goa, the lottery business remains probably the most post popular form of gambling.
Though gambling is not illegal, this can be a highly controlled and regulated activity. Modern India is really a quasi-federal Constitutional democracy and the powers to legislate are distributed at the federal along with 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 in order to regulate gambling in the respective states. Thus, there is absolutely no single law governing gambling in the complete 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 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 price for a chance to win a prize’. The dominant component of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A game may be deemed to be gambling if the part 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 are not gambling. The right to attempt the business of gambling and lotteries is not considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It may however be pointed out 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 regulate public gambling within their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended relative to their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not have any direct impact on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house so as to include virtual forums aswell.
The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)
The ICA is really 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, no suit will be brought for recovering anything purported to be won on any wager or entrusted to anybody 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 thus void and unenforceable. While a wagering contract is not illegal, it cannot be enforced in a court of law. Thus, the courts will not entertain any reason behind action that arises out of a wagering contract.
Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998
This Act provides a framework for organizing lotteries in the country. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to promote along with prohibit lotteries within their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner in which the lotteries are to be conducted and prescribes punishment in case of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by the state have already been made an offence beneath the Indian Penal Code. yehyeh -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 intended purpose of drawing any lottery not being a State lottery or a lottery authorised by hawaii Government, shall 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 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, shall be punished with fine which might extend to one thousand rupees.
The law linked to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts in fact it is extremely hard to enforce such contracts beneath the ICA, detailed above.