Online Gaming and Gambling Laws in India
- Addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.
- Addiction is most commonly associated with gambling, drugs, alcohol and smoking, but it’s possible to be addicted to just about anything
- these substances affect the way you feel, both physically and mentally.
- These feelings are mostly enjoyable and create a powerful urge to use the substances again.
- Gaming and Gambling may result in a similar mental “high” after a win, followed by a strong urge to try again and recreate that feeling.
- No Specific Law to Regulate Gaming in India
- Provisions of IPC and IT Act are used.
- For e.g.
- PUBG was banned in India using Sec 69A of IT Act 2000
- Sec. 69A Power to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource. –
- in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above
- Gambling– betting or staking of something of value, with consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event whose result may be determined by chance or accident.
- The outcomes by chance – as in the purely random activity of a tossed pair of dice or of the ball on a roulette wheel etc.
Gambling in india
- Has a long History
- Pandavas lost all their wealth to Kauravas in a game of dice in the Mahabharata.
- began to be regulated under British Rule- the Public Gaming Act, 1867.
- In Constitution Schedule 7- List II (State List) – Entry 34. Betting and gambling.
- So may states have enacted their own laws on the subject while rest have adopted the Public Gaming Act, 1867.
- Only Two States – Goa and Sikkim and UT of Daman allow gambling.
- What about Games like Dream 11 which have both the Components-
- Online Game
- Cash Prizes – Betting
Game of Chance vs. Game of Skill
- Game of Skill means a game where the result is determined primarily by mental or physical skill rather than by chance.
- there may be a chance, but skill is the essential element in determining its outcome.
- In Dr. K.R. Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu, SC has defined the game of skill as “one in which success depends principally upon the superior knowledge, training, attention and experience of the player.”
- Game of Skill does not fall in the Category of Gambling.
Game of Chance
- Game of Chance is that where the outcome is primarily determined by some randomizing device such as spinning tops, playing cards, rolling dice, roulette wheels, or numbered balls drawn from a container.
Varun Gumber v. Union Territory of Chandigarh
- Petitioner moved to Punjab Haryana High Court stating that the Dream 11 is a game of chance and falls under the category of gambling.
- Contended that he lost almost ₹50K on the app playing different games.
- Counsel for Dream 11 explained the concept of Fantasy games under which category Dream 11 falls.
- He explained that First of all a participant select a game- be it Kabaddi or Cricket
- Then she selects a match and then select 11 players from the two teams that are going to play the match.
- After selecting the players the participants enter into a contest with lots of other similar participants.
- Depending on the real-life performance of the players in that particular match, participants of Dream 11 get points
- After the match is over, the participant with the highest score will get a major chunk of the prize money.
- The counsel also explained that participants need to have a lot of knowledge about the sport and the attributes of the players and conditions of the pitch, type of match, etc. in order to succeed in this fantasy sport.
- There is a very tiny portion of chance and a major portion of skill involved in this game and hence it does not fall under the category of the game of chance/gambling.
- The Court held that ‘the element of skill’ had a predominant influence on the outcome of the Dream11 game
- On this basis, the Court adjudged that playing on Dream11 constitutes a ‘game of mere skill’, which makes the Dream11 game exempt from the provisions of the Public Gambling Act, 1867 (PGA).
- Sikkim took the initiative of legalising online sports betting within the state
- Promulgated Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act 2008.
- Under this Act, a licence for placing bets on sports games such as football, cricket, lawn tennis, chess, golf and horse racing can be issued.