A bet can be put into minutes. Anyone with a credit card can create an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them absolve 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 likely to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna gets a divorce or not. Bets can range from a nickel to thousands and according to whether you win or lose the total amount is automatically adjusted back. The final balance may then either be mailed for you or left for future bets.
The law relating to online gambling in India has to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. At the outset, gambling, but 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 many other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains the most post popular type of gambling.
Though gambling isn’t 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 as well as the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, therefore that the state governments have the authority to enact laws in order 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 with 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 casino game could be deemed to be gambling if the element of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. Therefore, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and some card games aren’t gambling. The right to undertake the business of gambling and lotteries is not considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It may 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 complete 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 hawaii governments to enact laws to modify public gambling in their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended relative to their policy on gambling. However, this legislation doesn’t have any direct effect on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to the definition 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. Under raja 787 , a wagering contract is the one which cannot be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, no suit shall be brought for recovering anything purported to be won on any wager or entrusted to anybody to abide by the result of any game or other uncertain event on 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 won’t 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 together with prohibit lotteries of their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also offers the manner where the lotteries should be conducted and prescribes punishment in case 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 hawaii 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 cover any sum, or even to deliver any goods, or 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 virtually any such lottery, will be punished with fine which might extend to 1 thousand rupees.
The law linked to gambling can be applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts and it is not possible to enforce such contracts beneath the ICA, detailed above.