Gambling in India

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Gambling in India is heavily restricted except for selective categories like lotteries and horse racing. Approximately 40% of internet users in India have admitted in the past to visiting a gambling site - but not placing a bet.[1] However, this position has changed significantly in the year 2014 as more and more people have started making cash bets upon prohibited betting and gambling activities in India. Recently the owner of an online betting website for IPL 7 was arrested [2] in Mumbai for allowing betting on his website. Similar arrests have been made by police of Delhi,[3] Ahmedabad,[4] Mumbai,[5] etc. The Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) has also established a Sports Integrity Unit to investigate illegal sports betting in India.[6]

Legality Of Gambling[edit]

Gambling is a state subject and only states in India are entitled to formulate laws for gambling activities within their respective states. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 is a central law that prohibits running or being in charge of a public gaming house. The penalty for breaking this law is a fine of INR200 or imprisonment of up to 3 months. Additionally, this Act prohibits visiting gambling houses. A fine of INR100 or imprisonment of up to one month is the penalty.[7]

The Information Technology Act 2000 regulates cyber activities in India and prohibits publication or transmission of information that can corrupt people. This includes online gambling and the punishment for such activities is much more serious than for offline gambling operations – the fine is INR100,000 or imprisonment up to 5 years.[8] Further, online gambling is a banned offense in the state of Maharashtra under the "Bombay Wager Act".

Only two states allow casinoes, Goa and Sikkim.[9] There are two casinos in Sikkim and 12 in Goa, of which seven are land based and five are floating casinos that operate on the Mandovi River.

Online Gambling[edit]

Online gambling is in its infancy in India, but Sikkim planned to offer three online gambling licences in 2010. This failed despite India being the most sought out country for online gambling.[10] Sikkim also permits an online lottery, operated by Playwin, which takes bets from players throughout India. It is expected that other states will follow Sikkim shortly, thereby opening up a major online gambling market throughout India.[11][12]

Online gambling laws of India are complicated in nature [13] as gambling is a state subject and different state have enacted different laws regarding gambling activities.[14] For instance, online gambling is a banned offense in the state of Maharashtra under the "Bombay Wager Act" and different states tend to operate on their own authority.[15]

Online gambling in India is governed by the Information Technology Act 2000 that is a centre subject. However, the legality of use of Bitcoins for gaming and gambling in India is still doubtful [16] and full of legal risks.[17]

We have a central law on gambling called the Public Gambling Act of 1867. Similarly, we have many state laws on gambling that are mostly based upon the central law. Further, almost all the state laws are regulating real world or offline gambling in India. The exception in this regard can be found in the laws applicable in places like Goa and Sikkim.[18] In Sikkim, a provisional And Regular Licence can be obtained under the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008.[19]

There are certain rules to decide whether online gambling and betting legal in India or not.[20]

There are totally different set of rules for running an online poker website in India.[21] In many cases police in India arrest people indulging in illegal online betting.[2]

In short, legality of online gambling and online gaming is still a grey area that requires extensive legal research and compliances before launching the website in this regard.

Legalisation Of Gambling[edit]

Despite the existing prohibitive legislations, there is extensive illegal gambling throughout the country. The Indian gambling market is estimated to be worth US$60 billion per year, of which about half is illegally bet.[22] According to the Indian National Newspaper, the Chief Executive officer for the International Cricket Council (ICC) said he was in favour of legalizing sports betting. He believes the illegal funds profited are through underground bookies that used the money to fund terrorism and drugs.[23]

Technology And Gambling[edit]

Technology trends, in particular mobile penetration in countries such as India will be a substantial market opportunity for gaming operators once regulated.[24] The parallel trends of significant mobile betting uptake in already regulated markets demonstrates the potential for channels such as mobile to become the primary form of customer engagement.[25] Both mobile gaming market and legal challenges must be kept in mind by entrepreneurs in this regard.[26]

Blocking Of Websites[edit]

In May 2011 India passed the Information Technology Act 2000 which tries to put a stranglehold on internet gambling. This new act, which covers gambling sites, holds the Internet Service Providers responsible for blocking offshore betting sites. However, techno legal issues regarding online gambling are much more complicated than mere blocking.[27] Andhra Pradesh CID has already requested Cert-In to block Playwin’s online lotteries website in AP.[28]

Payment Gateways[edit]

One of the biggest obstacles faced by sports bettors in India is the fact that depositing to foreign bookies is extremely difficult. Typically, the majority of users deposit to online bookies using Moneybookers or Neteller. Some attempts to deposit using a Visa or MasterCard may fail. The same is true of online bank transfers. In order to circumvent these blocks, savvy internet users have started to use ewallet services for depositing. These services add a middle layer to disguise the nature of transactions, enabling users to get around the blocks by first depositing to an ewallet and then using that ewallet to fund an online betting account in Rupees. This is important because it circumvents legal issues that may have arisen about Foreign Exchange law.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Popularity of betting sites in India
  2. ^ a b "Owner Of Online Betting Websites For IPL 7 Arrested In Mumbai". Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Delhi Police’s Crime Branch Busts Betting Syndicate For IPL Cricket Matches". Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ahmedabad Crime Branch Arrested Two Bookies For Their Alleged Role In Betting On IPL Cricket Matches". Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Mumbai Crime Branch Busts Online Gambling Network Spreading Across India". Exclusive Techno Legal Centre Of Excellence For Cyber Crimes Investigation In India. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sports Integrity Unit Of Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI) Would Curb Illegal Sports Betting In India". Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  7. ^ The Public Gambling Act, 1867
  8. ^ Wanna bet?
  9. ^ Patil, Ajit (28 May 2009). "Casinos in India". India Bet. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  10. ^ Sanjay, Roy (27 October 2009). "Indian online gambling market set to open up". India Bet. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  11. ^ Online Gambling in India
  12. ^ "GPWA Magazine". 
  13. ^ "Online Gambling Laws In India". Exclusive Techno Legal Centre Of Excellence For Cyber Crimes Investigation In India. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India". E-Sports And E-Gaming Laws And Regulations In India, Internet Games Laws And Regulations In India And Online Poker, Rummy, Card Games, Chess, Lotteries In India. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Shriver, Roger. "Betting laws of India". 
  16. ^ "Is Use And Dealing In Bitcoins Legal Or Illegal In India?". Online Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "RBI Cautions Users Of Virtual Currencies Against Risks". Global ICT Policies And Strategies And Indian Perspective. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India". Online Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "Provisional And Regular Licence Under The Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008". Online Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Is Online Gambling And Betting Legal In India?". Online Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 28 November 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  21. ^ "Is It Legal To Play Online Poker In India?". Online Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  22. ^ Thompson, James (27). "Betfair and William Hill target India". The Independent. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  23. ^ "Sports Betting Favoured by ICC". CasinoOnline.net.in. Retrieved 8 August 2011. 
  24. ^ "Online Gaming Market In India Is Booming But Regulatory Compliances Cannot Be Ignored". Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Fleming, Richard (16 January 2014). "Mobile & online betting technologies in India". Favourit. Retrieved 18 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Mobile Gaming Market In India And Legal Challenges". Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  27. ^ Comprehensive Techno Legal Discussion On Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India
  28. ^ "Andhra Pradesh CID Requests Cert-In To Block Playwin’s Online Lotteries Website In AP". Online Gaming And Gambling Laws And Regulations In India. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  29. ^ "Rupee Betting Sites and Law". 

External links[edit]