This article on ‘Betting and Gambling in India: Online Gaming Laws 2022’ was written by Yashashwi Jaiswal, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
With the advent and expansion of computer technology in different areas, including online gaming. In India, online gaming has a different scenario in relation to other countries. Easy availability of the internet and increase in digital usage has increased the number of sports fantasy in India. Youngsters, including adults, get addicted to online games. In the age of building their career, they are just wasting their time on it.
Each and every day we hear mind-numbing news relating to online gaming. Recently, news of Lucknow where a boy shoots his mom with his father’s gun only because she stopped him from playing PUBG. Is this the technology we need where we kill our parents or anyone else only to fulfil our pleasure?
It raises the question of which direction our upcoming generation is going. Our upcoming generation has a sense of entitlement that playing games and having mobile phones is their right. Now it has turned into a big problem for our society. This is a short intro, so further we will see how online games are dangerous for our society. Is it legal or illegal? How do we deal with these problems?
Historical background of Betting and Gambling in India
Gaming (Betting and Gambling in India) has a historical background. “Gambling, betting, or staking of something of value with a 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” because Yudhisthir wagers his wife and brother, the Mahabharat battle between Pandava and Kauravas ensues. In the Mahabharat, the Pandavas lost all of their wealth to the Kauravas in a dice game. If betting and gambling in India were legalised, then the battle of Mahabharat wouldn’t have happened.
Betting and Gambling in India have existed for a longer time than is believed now. So many mythological books about gaming and gambling are mentioned.
Are online games a death trap?
It seems to me that it makes a strong statement about how internet gaming is currently. Online gaming is a death trap, as evidenced by the abundance of news stories that support this claim. It poses a danger to our civilization. Both young people’s and adults’ lives are in danger as a result. What constitutes a threat, and how does it do so?
Following a satisfying experience of victory in online gaming, there is a strong desire to attempt again and relive that emotion. Without a question, playing video games is a good time with friends and a great method to learn new things. Although everything is positive, there are still risks. Online games are addictive for both children and adults because they provide a sense of escape from the real world.
Their minds are pushed into pits by online gaming. Young people are falling for online challenges at an increasing rate. The power of the mind is taken away. What constitutes good and wrong? With a new face, cyberbullying presents new difficulties for students. They must perform there.
Is Betting and Gambling in India legal or illegal?
The rise of fantasy sports has prompted debate over whether online gaming is legal or illegal. No, it does not. In India, online gaming is neither illegal nor prohibited. Betting on games of chance is illegal in India, whereas betting on games of skill is legal. In most parts of India, online gaming with stakes or real money is legal. Many states have passed their own legislation on the subject, while the rest have adopted the Public Gaming Act of 1867.
There are two types of gaming: skill-based games and chance-based games. A skill game is one in which the outcome is primarily determined by mental or physical ability.
In contrast to a chance rather than taking a chance. There is a chance, but skill is essential in determining the outcome. A game of chance, for example, in Dream11, is one in which the outcome is primarily determined by random events. Only two states, Goa and Sikkim, and one UT, Daman, allow gambling.
Need for Central Online Gaming Laws
Each state has a different outlook regarding online gaming and gambling. It is a state matter in the Indian constitution under the seventh schedule of List 2. Each state has the power to enact laws related to it according to its needs. Some states want to ban this, like Karnataka, which wants to introduce a law to ban online gaming, gambling, and skill-based platforms. There are no specific laws to regulate gaming in India. We followed a 150-year-old law that was made by the British in 1867, the Public Gaming Act. There is a need to change the old laws.
Under the Indian constitution, states have the power to legislate their own laws on gaming. There is a need for regulation of online gaming because it is an alarming situation for society. If this power were in the hands of the states, then they would pass laws according to their needs. This is a national security issue and it is the duty of the centre, like other countries like China, the UK, etc., to prevail on some laws which safeguard their citizens from the harmful effects of online gaming. There is an urgent need to regulate some central laws for online gaming to prevent some illegal activities.
Some restrictions have to be put on the online gaming industry. If they make laws, they will surely be strictly followed by everyone. It is high time for laws relating to online gaming. The public is demanding a ban or taking strict action against it. There is a provision in the IPC and IT Act, but they are not very effective. There is a need to make separate laws related to it.
Indian Judiciary on Online Gaming
The Indian judiciary has a different outlook on gaming. In India, the High Courts of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Bombay have clarified that fantasy sports are games of skill rather than chance. Although the courts have observed that skill-based games are exempted from the purview of gambling.
In the matter of State of Andhra Pradesh v Satyanarayana (1968), the fact of this case is whether the game of rummy is a game of skill or a game of chance. In this case, the Supreme Court, while interpreting the said phrase under section 14 of the Hyderabad gambling act, held that the game of rummy is not a game of chance because it requires a dominant amount of skill in memorising the fall of cards and in holding and discarding the cards, and it is also dependent on the card placement. Hence, the game of rummy was held to be a game of skill.
In the case of Varun Gumber v UT of Chandigarh Dream 11 moved to the Punjab high court, stating that Dream 11 is a game of chance because the petitioner contended and lost 50k on the app. Counsel for Dream 11 explained the concept of fantasy games. Dream 11 depends on the real-life performance of the players in a particular match. Participants in Dream 11 get points. The court held that the elements of skill had a predominant influence on the outcome of the Dream 11 game.
Recently, the Google Play Store banned Paytm because it violates Google Play Store guidelines. Online fantasy gaming has a grey area. It evolved rapidly in India because of the legal sanction accorded to it by various courts and the supreme court’s non-interference in the said decisions. People come on the road and demand to ban this online game, but the government shouldn’t take an immediate step.
The government banned PUBG, but after some while, it would exist in India with a different name. It is high time the centre brought some strict rules to prevent our generation of harmful effects. In China, only 3 hours of online gaming is allowed. The Centre should also enforce some laws relating to betting and gambling in India. Impose high taxes on the online gaming industry. On one hand, it helps in controlling the wave of online fantasy sports, and on the other hand, it helps in boosting the economy. The Centre enacts age-related legislation in order to aid in the prevention of student addiction.
- Entry 34, List II OF Schedule 7, Constitution of India
- The Public Gaming Act, 1867
- IT Act 2000 of section 69A power to issue directions for blocking public access of any information through any computer resource. With the help of this section, PUBG was banned.
- Repealed by the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act 1974 in reference to the case State of Andhra Pradesh v K Satyanarayana