Life of an average human being involves various social acts, including
cultural events, group activities and etc. For the purpose of entertainment
humans play, watch and participate in different sports and games. Engagement in
gaming or sports activity has been the best way to spend the leisure time. With
the inclination of humans towards sports and games, the concept of wagering
money on these events is also getting prevalent and is slowly dominating over
the games and sports sector of our society.
WAGERING MONEY or GAMBLING is considered to be extremely ancient. We see
examples in our ancient holy books Mahabharata, and also Gambling with
dice(aksha) was very common during the Vedic period. Even the hymns of Rig Veda
and Atharva Veda and the verses of Manu Smriti contain traces of gambling. In
these scriptures, gambling is shown as a cause of destruction and a burden for
the family of the gambler.
Therefore, We can say gambling has been in existence for longer than it is
believed now. People engage in this act of wagering money or things merely with
the view to fulfil their financial needs. The win or loss may rely upon
knowledge or skill or just the stroke of luck.
This article will try to wrap up everything regarding Gambling, its legality,
and critically analyze the policies of the government.
It will chiefly cover all the aspects and facets related to Sports Betting in
What Is Gambling?
The act of wagering or betting, money or something of value on an event, with an
uncertain outcome, with the intent to win more money or things of value than was
In other words,
Gambling involves risking something of value, including money, for the chance of
winning more than you risked.
To conclude gambling has three basic elements involved:
- Consideration (the money or thing of value wagered)
- Risk (the chance of winning or losing the consideration)
- Prize (the return you get after winning or losing the event)
Some Definitions Of Gambling
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, gambling can be defined as "the
practice of risking money or other stakes in a game or bet". Moreover, the
Black's Law dictionary on the other hand defines 'gamble' as "to play, or game,
for money or other stake; hence to stake money or other thing of value on an
uncertain event. It involves not only chance, but a hope of gaining something
beyond the amount played".
These definitions highlight that the intrinsic element of gambling is taking a
risk or putting something at stake. It is pertinent to note that any activity
that falls under the term 'gambling' could be legal as well as illegal depending
upon the jurisdiction within which it is carried on.
Gambling can further be bifurcated into:
- Skill based
- Luck based
Skill based gambling can be defined as, staking consideration on a game which
requires your skill, to win the money. For example :- carrom, chess, golf, and
etc. On the contrary
Luck or chance based gambling is the type of gambling in which , staking
consideration on a game which does not requires any skill, but is totally based
on a stroke of luck. For example :- casinos, card game, online sports betting
Therefore to conclude:
When winning or losing is an outcome accruing out of skill it is a skill based
gamble, on the other hand when winning or losing is an outcome accruing out of
mere luck and probability then it is a luck based gamble.
Laws Governing Gambling In India
Gambling is a state subject, and states in India are entitled to formulate or
make laws for gambling activities within their respective jurisdiction. The
Public Gambling Act of 1867 is a central law that prohibits running or being in
charge of a public gambling house. The Act also prohibits visiting gambling
As discussed earlier Indian law also classifies games into two broad categories:
Game of skill and Game of chance.
In the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. K. Satyanarayana and Ors.
(1968), the Supreme Court held that the game of 'rummy' requires skill, as
building up rummy needs competency, while success in three card games like flush
is completely based on chance.
Gambling based on luck are considered totally illegal except in the state of,
Goa and Sikkim and Daman, where casinos are allowed and regulated by their
Gambling In India
These are the forms of gambling which are usually held by government at regular
intervals. The lottery events are regulated by The Lotteries (Regulation) Act,
Horse racing events is considered a game of skill and, therefore, is legal in
Sports Betting In India:
Sports betting is a form of gambling that involves placing of bets on the
outcome of sporting event. Sports betting is totally banned in India.
Sports betting in India
Sports betting has become very common in today's world. Big countries like India
where sports is in infancy is facing the issues related to legality of sports
betting. There are different forms of sports betting that take place everywhere.
This may aghast you but to apprise you sports betting can also extend to
non-athletic events, such as reality show, contests and political elections. The
betting has transformed how games are even played.
With over 4.0 billion fans in the world, it won't shock anyone to find that
football owns the biggest sport betting market. Europe holds the largest sports
betting market across the world. The betting market records a high demand from
European betting consumers, who bet across multiple leagues, pre-match, and
Increasing interest of people in sports in India, is also exposing them to the
betting world. Even in India betting is now a very common word. India's sports
betting market is dominated by cricket. Indians and their love for cricket gave
birth to this unwanted form of wager; on the outcome of the game.
And as there is no age restriction to watch the cricket, persons from every age
group are getting exposed to this anomalous market. After cricket, football is
the second most popular sport in India. The uncertainty of the result of the
sports is the biggest attraction. But as soon as the money comes into play,
results are likely to get affected. Match fixing is therefore the major threat
to sports and the advent of betting has increased the risk of match fixing.
According to latest studies and reports:
Annual market size of betting market is estimated anywhere between USD 40
billion and 150 billion and also every 8th person is exposed to betting or to be
precise every 4th person who is using internet is involved in betting.
Laws Governing Sports Betting In India
Laws regulating sports betting in India are very much ambiguous and non
conclusive. The legislation fails to make it clear, what is legal and what is
not. Sports betting in India is mainly illegal except for the betting on horse
races. Any other sports in India on which betting is prevalent is based on the
laws of the individual states.
Although considering the whole country, if there is any law regulating the
sports betting, then it is Public Gambling Act of 1867 and the Information
Technology Act of 2000. Under these acts , sports betting is totally illegal but
individual states have right to make their own laws. But according to the same
outdated law, 'Public Gambling Act (1867)',all kinds of gambling in India are
illegal but no specific law exist in the Indian system that prohibit online
gambling. On the
other hand in 'The information technology Act,2000' does mention nothing related
to betting or sports betting. This acts as a loophole and the companies
providing betting platforms use it as per their convenience.
While bookmakers in India are considered totally illegal, there is no specific
law in India which bans an individual customer from placing an online bet with
bookmaker based outside India.
There is no absolute specific law to govern the gambling and betting in India.
But to this, the question arises, is online betting legal in India?
We have no answer if online betting is legal or illegal in India. On the other
hand if the same thing is done or committed through offline modes then it is
definitely illegal. There are various online Gambling sites available which
accept bets from every state in India and nothing can be done about it because
they are foreign companies.
The Information Technology Act 2000 regulates cyber activities in India does not
mention the word Gambling or betting thereby the act was left for interpretation
by the courts.
In order to protect the public from these activities and to increase
transparency there is a need to study, examine and analyze the pros and cons of
legalizing or not legalizing the sports betting as whole and then make proper
laws to govern the same. Pros may include, the unexpected huge sum of money,
which may be generated as a revenue which can be further used by the government
for development of the country. On the contrary, it should be kept in mind that
it may increase, difference in wealth distribution, in our country which is
Therefore, it can be concluded that we do not have one word answer to the
question, whether gambling is legal in India. From bifurcating the type of
gamble (whether skill based or luck based), to differentiating the modes of
placing bet (online or offline) the law is not rigid and absolute.