India have a cultural norm where parents expect their children, many of whom
live with them well into adulthood, to concentrate on academics and professional
pursuits. online gaming/gambling laws in India prohibit betting or wagering and
any act which is intended to aid or facilitate the same.
In the 21st century,
more people have started making cash bets upon prohibited betting
and gambling activities in India. gaming/gambling being a state subject,
gaming/gambling in India have laws which differ from state to state . this would
mean what is permitted in one state may be an offence in another.
Gambling in India is heavily restricted except for selective categories
including lotteries and horse racing. Critics of gambling claim that it leads to
crime, corruption and money laundering, while proponents of regulated gambling
argue that it can be a huge source of revenue for the state.
Casinos in Goa
contributed Rs. 135 crores to the state revenue in 2013. The Public Gambling Act
of 1867 is a central law that prohibits running or being in charge of a public
gambling house. The penalty which will be imposed on breaking this law will be a
fine of rupees 200 or imprisonment of up to 3 months.
It also prohibits visiting
gambling houses, if violated a fine of rupees 100 or imprisonment of up to one
month will be imposed. Section 1 of the above act has an interpretation clause
on the subject of what is a common gaming house. The state gambling laws for
online gambling in India, except the state of Orissa and Assam, probably all the
states have excluded “games of skill” from applicability of its act of
gaming/gambling laws. Online gambling in India is still an issue of discussion
and there is no adjudication on the subject of online gambling yet.
Let's talk about a very famous online game which is not only famous among
the youngsters but was also an infamous issue among the lawyers. On Friday,
April 5, 2019 a boy in Hyderabad hanged himself and died. the cause of her death
was her mother scolding her to stop playing a very famous game PUBG.
16-yearold's father demanded a ban on player unknown's battlegrounds, known by
the acronym PUBG, after his son hanged himself from a ceiling fan at their
Hyderabad home following a reprimand for wasting time online rather than
studying for an English exam, according to Indian news reports. In March, two
men in their twenties playing the game on their phones near railway tracks in
Maharashtra state were killed by an oncoming train, the press trust of
India news agency reported.
After these two cases there was a massive storm in
India to ban this game because it is causing distraction, violence and hatred.
Some cities in Gujrat had banned this game, young people across the state were
arrested for violating the ban. Banning the game is a very extreme step, there
must be some other ways to handle this, how can you call someone who is playing
a video game a criminal, they aren't doing anything illegal. The internet
freedom foundation in new Delhi filed a petition in the Gujrat high court asking
them to declare the ban unconstitutional. There must be logical reasoning and
legal basis on any type of ban which is violating the freedom of any citizen.
Later on, the ban was lifted.
In India, we distinguish a game in two choices game of skill' and game of
chance'. In the matter of state of AP vs. K. Satyanarayana
the game of rummy to be a game of skill
. However, the Court in its judgment has
indicated that if there is gambling or if the gambling house is making profit
from the game of rummy, then it could amount to an offense under the laws of AP.
It was further observed by SC that the three-card game which goes under
different names such as flush, brag, etc. is a game of pure chance.
relied upon by SC in another its other judgments viz. M.J.Sivani v. State of
(1995) and Dr. K.R. Lakshmanan vs State Of Tamil Nadu And Anr
Delhi district court in the case of G. network private limited vs. monica
under order 36 rule(1) of CPC held that:
- Game of skills, if played with stakes does not amount to gambling;
- Playing games of skill for money is only legal in the real form, online
games cannot be compared to real games;
- Attracting business or enticing players by alluring them with prize
money is illegal;
- Gaming sites partaking a slice on the winning hand are illegal as they
amount to a virtual gambling house.
Having said that, the said ruling was left pointless, during the final arguments
in the Revision petition, parties sought to withdraw the petition.
The next big game which was never discussed in court, whether it's a game of
skill or game of chance until December 4, 2017 is POKER. In the case of
Dominance games pvt. Ltd. V. stae of Gujrat
it was held that:
Poker is a game of
and therefore amounts to gambling under Gujarat Prevention of Gambling
Act, 1887. As the poker is originated from the game of teenpati which is a game
of chance. Wagering or betting is an inseparable part of the game of poker and
therefore would involve stake.
Moving with the above acknowledged facts, If a game is considered to be a game
of chance under any state or observed to be played with stakes, it may be
constituted as gambling and be illegal under the gambling act. Whereas in any
online gaming or in any on-ground gaming its need to be shown that the game is a
game of skill and it played without stakes, if its proved then it may come
under the exceptions of the law.
It is relevant to note, if online gaming is
illegal in any State, the promotion of the same in such State would amount to
violation of ASCI Code as well as Cable TV Network Regulation Act, 1994.