A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with credit cards can create 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 slots, roulette, blackjack, poker etc. Companies like Flutter and Betmart accept bets on anything from who is going to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna gets a divorce or not. Bets can range between 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 to you or left for future bets.
The law relating to online gambling in India must 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 form of gambling.
Though gambling is not illegal, it is 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, therefore that the state governments have the authority to enact laws to be able 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 that have an application across the country. Although 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 a chance to win a prize’. The dominant element of skill or chance shall determine the type of the game. A game may be deemed to be gambling if the component of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. Subsequently, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and some card games are not gambling. The right to undertake the business enterprise of gambling and lotteries isn’t considered as a simple right protected by the Constitution of India. It could however be remarked that the state 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 following legislation is pertinent to gambling:
THE GENERAL 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 in 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 effect on online gambling unless a broad interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house so as to include virtual forums as well.
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 may be the one which can’t 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 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 united kingdom. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to promote as well as prohibit lotteries of their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner where the lotteries are to be conducted and prescribes punishment in case of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by hawaii have been made an offence beneath 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 deals with keeping lottery office. It says that whoever keeps any office or place for the purpose of drawing any lottery not being a State lottery or perhaps a lottery authorised by hawaii 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 cover any sum, or to deliver any goods, or even to do or forbear doing anything for the benefit of any person, 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 extremely hard to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.