PRECIOUS ONLINE GAMBLING: The Samurai Way
A bet can be put into minutes. Anyone with credit cards can set up an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them free to place bets on sporting events 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 total amount is automatically adjusted to your account. The final balance can then either be mailed for you or left for future bets.
The law relating to online gambling in India should be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. First, 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 high street gaming centres as in lots of other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains probably 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 and also the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, therefore that the state governments have the authority to enact laws to be able 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 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 a chance to win a prize’. The dominant part of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A game may be deemed to be gambling if the element of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. As a result, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and a few card games are not gambling. The right to undertake the business enterprise of gambling and lotteries isn’t considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It may however be pointed out that hawaii government run lotteries make significant contributions to hawaii 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 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 in accordance with their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not have any direct effect on online gambling unless a wide 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 really a codified umbrella legislation that governs all commercial contracts in India. Under the ICA, a wagering contract is the one which can’t be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, no suit will be brought for recovering anything purported to be won on any wager or entrusted to any person to abide by the consequence 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 won’t entertain any cause of 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 market as well as prohibit lotteries within their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also offers the manner in which the lotteries should be conducted and prescribes punishment in case of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by the state 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 purpose of drawing any lottery not being truly a State lottery or perhaps a lottery authorised by hawaii Government, will be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
And whoever publishes any proposal to cover any sum, or even to deliver any goods, or 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, will be punished with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
The law linked to gambling can be applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts in fact it is extremely hard to enforce such contracts beneath the ICA, detailed above.