A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with credit cards can setup an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them absolve 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 is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range between a nickel to thousands and in accordance with whether you win or lose the total amount is automatically adjusted back. The final balance may then either be mailed for 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 slot online 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 high street gaming centres as in many other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains probably the most post popular form of gambling.
Though gambling is not illegal, this is a highly controlled and regulated activity. Modern India is a quasi-federal Constitutional democracy and the powers to legislate are distributed at the federal plus the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, therefore that hawaii governments have the authority to enact laws in order to regulate gambling in the respective states. Thus, there is no single law governing gambling in the complete country. Different states have different laws governing gambling as well as the laws with 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 part of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A casino game could be deemed to be gambling if the element of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. Because of this, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and some card games are not gambling. The right to attempt the business enterprise 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 the state exchequer of several state governments and the Union government, and hence there is a resistance to complete prohibition.
The next 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 hawaii governments to enact laws to modify 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 impact on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to this is of common gaming house to be able 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 by way of 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 result of any game or other uncertain event which any wager is made’. Gambling, lottery and prize games have held to be wagering contracts and thus 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 reason behind action that arises out of a wagering contract.
Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998
This Act provides a framework for organizing lotteries in the country. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to promote along with prohibit lotteries of their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also offers the manner where 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 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 truly a State lottery or a lottery authorised by the State Government, will be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which might extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
And whoever publishes any proposal to cover any sum, or to deliver any goods, or 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, will 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 believed to be wagering contracts in fact it is extremely hard to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.