- The widespread popularity of gambling was observed in the historical past of India. During that period the roll of the dice was enough to make big decisions and to resolve conflicts.
- Whereas in the present, betting and gambling are frowned upon; It is considered the reason behind the increase in crime, corruption, and money laundering in the country.
- For years there have been heated debates on the legality of offline as well as online betting and gambling in India. These activities are considered illegal and are subject to immoral and other wrongful intentions.
- The majority of the people in India indulge in betting and gambling and they enjoy these activities. According to the study of the International Centre for Sports Security; the betting market in India is valued at 130 billion US dollars.
- The legislation which governs the gambling law in India is proponent towards the regulated gambling and casinos.
- Regulated gambling is essential because it is considered as the source of revenue for the states. Regulated gambling can curve or limit the illegal source of gambling proceeds.
The Gambit of Betting and Gambling Activities
- To protect the legality of online games which comprises betting or gambling there are explicit state legislations.
- Gambling falls under List II Entry 34 of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India. States have permission to legislate laws regarding betting and gambling. States have the authority to legalize these activities if they are willing to do so.
- The two Central Legislations are; the Public Gambling Act 1867 and LotteriesRegulation Act 1998.
- Before the Public Gambling Act, 1867 was introduced there was no law to restrict these activities. This Act was introduced by the Britishers and they outlawed all forms of gambling except the form of gambling which requires skills. A fine of Rs. 200 is penalized if people do not abide by this law or imprisonment for up to 3 months. This act also prohibits visitation of the houses where gambling takes place if done so then Rs. 100 as fine or 1-month imprisonment is there.
- Under the Central Lotteries RegulationAct 1998, the State Governments have the authority to give access to lottery games to the public.
Issues Related to Online Betting and Gambling Activities
- In Daman Goa, and Sikkim Land-Based Casinos are legal. Games which require mere skills, Horse Betting, Rummy Games(Rummy Games are subject to State legislation) and State-Run Lotteries are legal in India.
- Whereas betting in a cricket, Online Casinos that are developed in India, Games of Mere Chance and games which involves real money are illegal in India.
- If people from India indulge in online casino games of foreign countries then they will not be persecuted.
- Online gambling in Sikkim was initiated between 2015-2016, that time there was no restriction related to online gambling to take place within the territory of Sikkim. This caused a lot of problematic situations to arise.
- Therefore, the State legislation of Sikkim introduced a 2015 amendment and according to that amendment; only Sikkim based internet gaming terminals are allowed.
- In Sikkim, Under the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008; Online betting is also not prohibited
- Nagaland has also incorporated or allowed online games under the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2015. This act discusses the licence holders and where all the gambling is permitted.
- This act does not restrict itself to the territory of Nagaland, the Act permits gambling to the states which allow gambling. Therefore, licence holders under this Act can operate from any State in India where gambling is allowed.
- Nagaland is the only State, which considers Online poker as a game of skill and there the finance commissioner is also the licencing authority.
- Online betting and gambling activities are very crucial to the present scenario. The Indian Casinos are not allowed to have websites to promote their business on a digital platform.
- The websites of Casinos operating outside of India do not come under the ambiguity of the aforementioned prohibition. The offshore companies are allowed to operate their websites and players from India can participate in those websites.
- The only condition that the Indian players have to fulfil if they use the websites of foreign companies to play Online Casino is that the money based on which they can join to play should be INR (Indian Rupees Rate).
- There are certain situations when this requirement is not fulfilled, therefore there are other options available such as; E-Wallet, Crypto Currency, Paypal etc.
- The advent of Central and state legislation for betting and gambling activities happened before the public was introduced to the big wide world of Cyberspace. The facility of playing online games related to betting and gambling is very new to the existing legislation.
- Online gaming is known as a multimillionaire industry which growing day by day. Cheques and balances are not required in online gaming activities.
- The millennials are more interested and attracted to online gambling activities in which there are times when high stakes are involved.
- Online gambling is vulnerable for the millennials and could be a grave concern in the upcoming times.
- To lure Indians to do online betting, Offshore Companies are using specific loopholes such as the IPL (The Indian Premier League). There are even offshore betting agencies available to which some of the websites are linked to.
- Some Indian operators manage the whole online betting system. They are not given the permission to have their websites or promote themselves, and due to this reason, they are known as bookies and they can also earn some money by being a part of the whole online betting activities.
- The offshore companies have their servers located in India and they have the association with the bookies of India.
- One of the popular advisory sites is www.indiabet.com and it is a UK (United Kingdom) based Company, the laws which prohibit gambling is also established by the Britishers
- There are almost 200 companies in which indiabet.com is operated. The UK has abolished the law on gambling even Pakistan has abolished that law. Though India is continuing with that law. Some websites take advantage of that law.
The Legal aspect
- Under the Payment and Settlement Act 2007, RBI (The Reserve Bank of India) has the power to regulate all forms of electronic payments and they have been given the authority to instruct banks to refuse payments or deposits involving any of the payment processors.
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 is also helpful to curve online gambling activities. Though the IT Act does not define online betting and gambling activities.
- Under the Information Technology Act, 2000 there are rules of 2007 which introduced, under which there is this information regarding prohibition of any website which has content related to money laundering or gambling.
- Ministry of Information and Technology has the jurisdiction to act under the provisions of the IT Act and the applicable sections are Section 67 and Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
- The views of the public on betting and gambling are personal because there is a lot of money involved in these activities. This money is being routed through the underground world and is being misused largely.
- Even if there are game which requires skills and are played physically, they do not share the same parity with games which are played online. The main reason being the real games require a high presence of mind and skill set than online games.
- There are numerous online games that involve money and they have been prohibited in India.
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