A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with a credit card can setup 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 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 gets a divorce or not. Bets can range from a nickel to thousands of dollars and according to whether you win or lose the amount is automatically adjusted back. The final balance may then either be mailed to you or left for future bets.
The law associated with online gambling in India should be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. First, 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 the most post popular form 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, therefore that hawaii governments have the authority to enact laws so that you can 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 as well as 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 price for to be able to win a prize’. The dominant component of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A game could 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 a few card games aren’t gambling. The right to undertake the business enterprise of gambling and lotteries isn’t 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 therefore there is a resistance to perform prohibition.
The following 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 regulate 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 this is 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. Under the ICA, a wagering contract is the one which cannot be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements through wager are void, and no suit shall be brought for recovering anything alleged 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, slot88 and prize games have held to be wagering contracts and therefore void and unenforceable. While a wagering contract isn’t illegal, it can’t 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 offers a framework for organizing lotteries in the country. Under this Act, hawaii governments have been authorized to promote along with prohibit lotteries within 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 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 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 six months, or with fine, or with both.
And whoever publishes any proposal to pay any sum, or 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, 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 in fact it is not possible to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.