A bet can be put into minutes. Anyone with a credit card can set up an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them absolve to place bets on sports like Wimbledon, cricket, horse racing and Formula One, or join a virtual casino to play slots, 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 gets a divorce or not. Bets can range from a nickel to thousands of dollars and in accordance with whether you win or lose the 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 needs to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. At the outset, 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 high street 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, it is just 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, therefore that hawaii 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 as well as the laws with 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 component of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A casino game may be deemed to be gambling if the component of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. Therefore, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and a few card games aren’t gambling. The right to attempt the business enterprise of gambling and lotteries isn’t considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It could however be remarked that hawaii government run lotteries make significant contributions to the state 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’. https://uat-cd.atcc.org/ authorises the state governments to enact laws to modify public gambling within their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended in accordance with their policy on gambling. However, this legislation doesn’t have any direct impact on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house to be able 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. Under the ICA, a wagering contract is the one which can’t be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, and no suit will be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager or entrusted to any person 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 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 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 market and also prohibit lotteries of their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner in which the lotteries should be conducted and prescribes punishment in the event of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by the state have already 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 intended purpose of drawing any lottery not being truly a State lottery or a lottery authorised by the State Government, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may 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 to do or forbear doing anything for the benefit 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 may extend to one thousand rupees.
The law linked to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are believed to be wagering contracts in fact it is not possible to enforce such contracts beneath the ICA, detailed above.