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The law relating to online gambling in India needs to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. At the outset, gambling, although 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 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 can be 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 in addition to the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, this implies that the state governments have the authority to enact laws as a way 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 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 price for to be able to win a prize’. The dominant element of skill or chance shall determine the type of the game. A casino game may 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 aren’t gambling. The right to undertake the business enterprise of gambling and lotteries isn’t 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 the state exchequer of several state governments and the Union government, and therefore there is a resistance to perform prohibition.
The following 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 already been amended relative to their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not 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.
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 cannot be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, and no suit will be brought for recovering anything purported 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 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 united kingdom. Under this Act, the state 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 case 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 deals with keeping lottery office. It says that whoever keeps any office or place for the intended purpose of drawing any lottery not being 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 half a year, or with fine, or with both.
And whoever publishes any proposal to pay any sum, or even to deliver any goods, or even to do or forbear doing anything for the benefit 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 linked to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are believed to be wagering contracts in fact it is not possible to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.