A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with credit cards can set up an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them free 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 is going to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range between a nickel to thousands of dollars 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, 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 traditional gaming centres as in many other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains the most post popular type 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 as well as 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. Thus, there is no single law governing gambling in the entire 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 to be able to win a prize’. The dominant part 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. Consequently, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and a few card games are not gambling. The right to undertake the business of gambling and lotteries isn’t considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It may however be pointed out that the state 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 perform 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 regulate public gambling within their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended in accordance with their policy on gambling. However, this legislation doesn’t have any direct impact on online gambling unless a broad interpretation is given to this is of common gaming house in order to include virtual forums as well.
Situs Toto , 1872 (ICA)
The ICA is really a codified umbrella legislation that governs all commercial contracts in India. Under the ICA, a wagering contract is the one which cannot be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements through wager are void, no suit will 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 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 cannot 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 as well as prohibit lotteries of their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner in which the lotteries are to be conducted and prescribes punishment in the event of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by hawaii 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 intended 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 pay any sum, or to deliver any goods, or even to do or forbear doing anything for the benefit of anybody, on any event or contingency relative or applicable to the drawing of any ticket, lot, number or figure in any such lottery, shall be punished with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
The law linked to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts and it is not possible to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.