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INTERNET GAMBLING IN INDIA: REGULATION OR PROHIBITION?

Gambling is a gaming activity involving the risk of money or precious items for financial benefit as a result of a game, competition, or other events. The gambling sector might be split between activities that entail random results, such as lots and slots and activities that might include judgments like event wagering.

 Gambling has become one of the most popular online activities in the world. The extent of Internet gambling, apart from presenting legal difficulties, has altered substantially over the last years. Online wagering entails placing money on a physical event, such as a horse racing, etc.

Online gaming is placing money on gaming activities, like the games created by software. Recently, the gaming sector has become quite popular, in many countries. It has also become a popular way for Indians to play. However, it was a problematic subject due to the lack of law regulatory procedures in India for addressing internet gambling.

Development of Internet Gambling. 

The Internet infiltrated every industry with the arrival of technology in the marketplace for online gambling. In recent years online gaming has developed rapidly, not only in the light of the development of technology and mass communication, but also because it is possible to play from anywhere at any time. Gambling on the Internet differs considerably from traditional to modern.

From the consumer and operator’s point of view, it is desirable. In addition, there was a restricted range of internet gaming before but today many people are playing online in India. Gambling industry has so expanded its scope that “professional players” are hired to play online.

Need for Regulation. 

The fast rise of its industry means that internet gambling becomes a subject of worry. The legality of this online gaming business is quite ambiguous because of the absence of the legislation to deal with and tackle the concerns connected with it. India is a welfare state and the state has a duty to protect its citizens against any wrongdoing.

The various problems in unstructured internet gambling are as follows:

  • Unethical: Many unethical procedures in this industry which jeopardise customers’ interest are highly likely to be implemented. The regulation of these internet platforms would guarantee that these websites have a minimum standard of ethical behaviour.
  • Creation of illegal parallel economy: Illegal gambling has a devastating effect on the economy, as its profit cannot be accounted for and is unknown. Dr. Jamsheddas Khan, President of the National Gambling Board, states that such illicit operations should not be regulated.
  • Money laundering: The commission of economic crime, which involves the use, layering the integration of cash, has been one of the key reasons for online gambling.

 Benefits of Online Regulation.

The different advantages of online gaming regulation are:

  • The government can ensure that these gaming activities are fair and unethical behaviours may also be controlled if it decides to control this sector.
  • A check of age may be performed to guarantee minors are prevented from playing online.
  • The regulation would ensure that all industries that provide online gambling services would be controlled and that all income earned could be tracked by the government and taxed to create income for the government to safeguard public welfare.
  • Players that go online to play can preserve their rights since they will be protected by law and are not left in the hands of credit sharks.
  • In order to regulate online gambling, websites are also responsible for gambling and allow customers to establish an upper threshold on the amount to which they wish to place a wager and to decide on the maximum number of losses they can endure to safeguard gamblers.
  • Online gambling regulation will enable the government to track all transactions so that money laundering may be reduced.

 Current State Legislation Enacted.

No central legislation can govern Internet gambling in India at all. The laws on internet gambling in India are in just 2 states, i.e., Sikkim and Nagaland.

The 2008 Sikkim Internet Gaming Act is the first law to be adopted to govern online gaming. Reading in 2009 with the Sikkim Online Gaming Regulations, the Act permits specific games to be played along the state government’s licence. The Law stipulates that internet games and sports betting are played at regulated gaming areas inside the state boundaries. The Nagaland Act 2016, which intends to establish licences by giving Pan India applications, is also passed to ban Gambling, Promotion & Regulation. Under paragraph 2(1) of the Law:

“Once a license has been obtained under this act, wagering or betting on online ‘games of skill’ or making profit by providing a medium for playing ‘games of skill’ shall not amount to gambling so long as they are being provided by players and being accessed by players operating from territories where ‘games of skill’ are exempted from the ambit of gambling.’

Section 2 (2) of the Nagaland Act defines the term “territory” for the purposes thereof as “any territory in India in which ‘games of skill’ are permitted and are recognized as being exempted from the ambit of ‘gambling’.”

When we read the two clauses together, then the Act says that a licence can be used to offer skills throughout the country when obtained via a Pan India application if such “kill games” are exempt from the gaming forecast under current state legislation, and considered as skill games. The Telangana Gaming Act of 1974 and 2017, provides for a zero policy for tolerance against any type of betting whether offline or online, leading to significant effects on the wellness of the common public in the State.

Conclusion. 

Technology changes every day, so are people’s requirements. Activities considered bad a few decades ago are no longer as bad as gambling. Gambling used to be considered a societal evil, but today it is especially on the online that is so demanding. The law must thus keep pace with shifting social standards. Due to the global structure of the Internet that will continue to supply gamblers with possibilities online, the argument that gambling is an evil activity and should be totally prohibited lax enforcement.

The scale of the internet gambling sector is growing quickly and the government must take action to control it. The Parliament is also authorised to make a law on Internet gambling in cyber-space and employs mass communication under entry 31 of the Union’s List which sets forth “posts and phones; telephones, wireless television broadcasting and other modes of communication.

The law aims to defend players’ interests by safeguarding them against fraudulent players, as well as to take efforts to control problems such as gambling difficulties, addiction to young people, criminal activity, and money laundering. On the other side, the government might also examine the transactions and tax gains that would serve as a good source of income to the government. It would also reduce the scale of the illicit market and black-market circulation in the economy as a regulatory measure ensures that the subterranean operations will be restricted by transparency.

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References: MacKay, T. (2004). Internet Gambling in Canada Waits in Legal Purgatory. National

  • Massimo Manzin Roberto Biloslavo, Online Gambling: Today’s Possibilities and

Tomorrow’s Opportunities, Online Gambling: Today’s Possibilities and Tomorrow’s Opportunities

  • Nair, Abhilash, ‘Online Gambling: Gambling with Regulation, European Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 3, No. 3. 2012
  • Morse, E.A. (2006). E Morse, E.A. (2006). Extraterritorial Internet Gambling: Legal challenges and options
  • Gambling in India – Wikipedia. Gambling in India – Wikipedia; en.wikipedia.org.

 Article by – Anushka Satwani

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