A bet can be put into minutes. Anyone with a credit card can create 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 likely 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 total amount is automatically adjusted to your account. The final balance may then either be mailed to you or left for future bets.
The law relating to online gambling in India has 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 hawaii of Goa, the lottery business remains probably the most post popular type 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 in addition to the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, this implies 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 entire country. Different states have different laws governing gambling in addition to 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 cost for a chance to win a prize’. The dominant component of skill or chance shall determine the type of the game. A casino 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 some card games are not gambling. The right to undertake the business of gambling and lotteries is not considered as a simple right protected by the Constitution of India. It could 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 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 relative to their policy on gambling. However, this legislation doesn’t have any direct effect on online gambling unless a broad interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house in order to include virtual forums as well.
The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)
The ICA is 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, no suit will be brought for recovering anything purported 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 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 Winbet , the state governments have been authorized to market in addition to prohibit lotteries within 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 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 purpose of drawing any lottery not being truly a State lottery or 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 even to deliver any goods, or even to do or forbear doing anything for the advantage 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 might extend to 1 thousand rupees.
The law related to gambling can be applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts and it is extremely hard to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.