Is Online Gambling & Betting legal in India

A smartphone in hand is a world in hand. We were connected to almost everything with mobile and internet. At the same time, we were vulnerable to online threats that we can lose all our money with no effort. Increase in internet usage makes users reach new places mostly through advertisements or messages from unknown sources. Once clicked on the link will redirect us to a place where they offer huge money and prizes. It will convince us an assured win and we pay to earn more. Now we were fallen in a web that can’t be undone. One such example is gambling and fantasy sports.

The gaming industry in India is around $150 billion. The games classified distinctively on the play type such as puzzles, role-playing, adventures etc. Of all categories, fantasy and gambling games are just hanging and bouncing with unclear rules and regulations. Because of the reason: India didn’t adapt any online gamblings acts so far. However, Information and technology act 2000 has some provisions given to Internet service providers(ISP) to tackle online gambling which isn’t stringent. And to be frank google play store has strict policies that are why many gambling websites don’t have their application in play store. Further, Paytm was removed from play store citing Paytm first games violated its policies and restored later.

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The public gaming act, 1867 under British Raj era made gambling venue illegal. The act is century and a half old when the idea of the internet far reaches. The act didn’t precisely describe the definition of gambling and there is no such word called online gambling in those years. Information and technology act 2000 didn’t mention online gambling illegal. It did give powers to ISP to prevent Indian citizens from gambling on foreign websites. However, IT act 2000 has powers to make certain provisions in activities attributing online betting & gambling. The lack of regularisations in these activities gave wings to fantasy games and online gambling.

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Despite no regulations over them at PAN India, a very few states did pass legislations. Maharashtra has The Bombay Prevention of Gambling act, 1887 prohibits gambling. Again it is unclear on online gambling. In Goa, The Goa Public Gambling act 1976, amended in 2012, gives permissions to casinos operate legally. The first casino was opened in 1990 and nearly some 15 casinos were operating legally. In Sikkim, Sikkim Online Gambling( Regulation) Act,2008 was enacted to regulate online gambling. Further Sikkim was the only state in India to legalise online betting.

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Online gambling and betting was a hot topic recently because of Dream 11 and IPL. In a recent move, Andhra Pradesh banned all online betting and gambling including Dream 11 adding to another 5 states that ban Dream 11. The main phrase to be noted here is ” game of skill & game of chance”. By the words, we understand that game of skill is the involvement of your ability and consciousness in the game you play and the game of chance is the zero involvement in-game which means the win/lose is out of the player hands. Many gambling/betting and fantasy games fall under the game of chance are considered illegal.

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Game of skill: It is the main wormhole to the most gambling and betting websites. The game of skill is an exclusion even though there involves betting/gambling. This is the main reason for many High courts upheld Dream 11 to be legal. To be specific, most states didn’t categorize the games. But Nagaland, however, has legislation that categorizes the games fall under the ambit of skill. Before any judiciary could intervene in this matter, states could make enough regulations since gambling and betting is a state subject.

The central government can bring rules regulations concerning online betting and gambling since the problem is being reported PAN India and Information, communication, broadcasting isn’t in the purview of states to block them online. Further, many European countries have gambling acts that are strictly under the government’s radar. Also, the revenue could be generated from in the form of taxes with legally operational online/offline gambling/betting and fantasy games.

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