Author: Mr. Sonu Kumar, ICFAI Law School, Dehradun
It is often shown in movies that to earn money actors bet on a cricket team or a player at the peril of losing some possession or cash. Also, winning and losing is decided even by a shot. Nowadays, people in order to avoid penalties given for offline gambling resort to various means of online gambling. The same can be seen in our daily lives.
Online gambling can be defined as being involved in betting on casinos or sports over the internet. Well, it is also known as Internet Gambling or e-gambling. Usually, credit cards are used to place the bet, and win or losses are enjoyed thereby.
Just like everything has a beginning, gambling has it’s origin too. Some traces of betting, a form of gambling can be seen in the chapters of Mahabharata where the Kauravas through illicit means and cheating made Pandavas lose their Kingdom and their wife, Draupadi’s dignity which led the foundation of the greatest war called Mahabharata. Even the betting amusements that date back to 2300 BC or 1500 BC are also found in many places, especially in China and Greece.
Also, dice were used by the rulers to decide how the domain would be partitioned. The same was done by rulers, named Olaf with a ruler of Sweden.
When gambling started taking its deep root in society and the government banned gambling at physical places, then the loopy of gambling started coming with the concept of Online Gambling. It begins in the year 1994 after the complete commercialization of the Internet. It also started with the Caribbean nation of Barbuda and Antigua after the enactment of the Free Trade and Processing Act when it granted licenses to companies willing to engage in online gambling services.
TYPES OF ONLINE GAMBLING
Online Gambling is of the following types:
It is one of the famous online gambling types. You can play Poker with players belonging to different nations. You can play tournaments or actual cash game if you are looking for winning money.
Online Gambling on horses is somewhat new. Earlier, it was done physically. But now, you can get to bet on the horses faster and accurately.
It is used in the Casinos. People play slots with an amount that suits them per spin and afterward spin and hit the lines. If hitting works then it gives you a tremendous amount of money.
You will get the same feel of playing blackjack online as you feel in the casino. You need to beat the dealer without being busted. That’s all.
This game is all about luck and playing online does not make a difference. The online game works in the same manner as just offline Roulette. You bet, the wheel spins, and the ball stop at a random number.
- Online Sports Betting:
Well, online gambling is not only limited to Casino games but, nowadays it is being used in the betting on sports games. There are numerous sites for betting on sports games like Soccer, Cricket, Basketball, etc. They tell you the bets and the returns you can get from it.
However, there are various sites that offer you the joy of playing an online casino game and sports betting, both. But the only problem here is that they have a limited number of gaming options comparatively.
LEGAL POSITION OF ONLINE GAMBLING IN INDIA:
Prior to any Central Legislation on Gambling, every state has different laws on gambling. So, the acts which were considered as an offense in one state may be permitted in another state. Afterward, central legislation named, The Public Gambling Act, 1867 came. Some of the states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, or Punjab have adopted this legislation while some states have legislation of their own. In the legislation, there is no mention of Online Gambling. Sikkim and Nagaland are the first states to include provisions related to Online Gambling.
If state legislations are looked upon for online gambling then it could be said that only the States of Orissa and Assam have included the game of skills in the dimension of gambling laws. No other states have done this so far. However, the game of poker is permitted to be played in the offline and online mode under the state legislation of West Bengal, Nagaland, and Sikkim with the prior approval in the form of a license from the state authority. In the state of Goa, the government-operated premises, also called Casino, is authorized to carry on gambling.
Well, the act prohibits any kind of gambling activities but the absence of provision related to Online Gambling is a loophole in the act. However, the cases are decided on the basis of whether the act is a Game of Skill or a Game of Chance.
In the case of M/s Gaussian Networks Pvt Ltd. v. Monica Lakhanpal and State of NCT, (Suit No 32/2012, Delhi District Court.) the matter of online gambling was discussed. The issue was raised under order 36 Rule (1) of CPC. The Could held the following:
- Any game which involves a game of skills, if played with stakes does not constitute gambling.
- If anyone attracts players by charming them with prize money that would be considered an illegal act.
- If any game of skill is played for the purpose of gaining money then that would be legal only in the real world and not the online world.
- Gaming sites cannot join the winning hands as it would give rise to online gambling.
However, at the stage of the final argument in the Revision Petition, the parties withdraw the petition. Hence, no ruling is there in regard to being treated as a precedent in Online Gambling.
Recently on the eve of September 16, 2018, an online gambling racket was caught running out of a residential area in New Ashoka Nagar, East Delhi. What they do in this online gambling was that the manager and the owner used to create a login ID and password and give it to their customers. They then used to play roulette on the computer system that was found on their premises. However, the owner, manager, and the said 12 customers were arrested by the police officials for the violation of state gambling laws.
Online Gambling is not a new thing. It was already in the effect in the ’80s. The changing time and the development of the Internet have transformed the way of gambling. The majority of the population prefers Online Gambling rather than Offline Gambling.
However, it is permitted in many other countries but in the context of India, its legality is still a very big question. And there are not enough judgments in this regard. The judiciary still has to cover a milestone to breach the gap between the changing society and the existing laws.