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The law relating to online gambling in India has to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. First, gambling, but not absolutely 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 traditional 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, it 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 as well as the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, therefore that hawaii governments have the authority to enact laws as a way to 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 as well as the laws with an application across the country. Although 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 to be able to win a prize’. The dominant element of skill or chance shall determine the type of the game. A game could be deemed to be gambling if the component of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. Due to this fact, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and a few card games aren’t 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 remarked that the state government run lotteries make significant contributions to the state exchequer of several state governments and the Union government, and therefore 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 relative to their policy on gambling. However, this legislation doesn’t have any direct impact on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house to be able 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 may be the one which can’t be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, and no suit will be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager or entrusted to any person 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 isn’t illegal, it cannot 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 this Act, hawaii governments have been authorized to promote together with prohibit lotteries within their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner where the lotteries should be conducted and prescribes punishment in the event of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by hawaii 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 handles keeping lottery office. It says that whoever keeps any office or place for the purpose of drawing any lottery not being a State lottery or perhaps a lottery authorised by the State Government, shall 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 even to do or forbear doing anything for the advantage of anybody, 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 might extend to one thousand rupees.
The law related to gambling can be applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are believed to be wagering contracts and it is not possible to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.