A bet can be put into minutes. Anyone with a credit card 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 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 is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range from a nickel to thousands and according to whether you win or lose the amount is automatically adjusted to your account. The final balance may then either be mailed for you or left for future bets.
The law associated with online gambling in India must be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. First, 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 high street gaming centres as in lots of other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains the most post popular form of gambling.
Though gambling isn’t illegal, this 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 and also 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. Nine303 Thus, there is no single law governing gambling in the entire 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 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 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 are not gambling. The right to attempt the business of gambling and lotteries is not considered as a simple 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 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 modify public gambling in their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended in accordance with their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not have any direct effect on online gambling unless a broad interpretation is given to this is 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. Beneath the ICA, a wagering contract may be 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, lottery 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 won’t 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 united kingdom. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to market and also prohibit lotteries of their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also offers 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 deals with 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 a lottery authorised by the State Government, will 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 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 virtually any such lottery, shall be punished with fine which may extend to 1 thousand rupees.
The law related to gambling is also 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.