Asked November 15, 2013

Gambling laws of India

  • 1 Answer

Gambling is illegal in India but there are many websites providing a forums for people to gamble and also carry advertisements. Can contribution to such websites in the form of a gambler or an advertiser can be considered illegal?

Answer 1

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Gambling in India

·       What is gambling?

In lay man language gambling involves risking something of value on an uncertain event in hopes of winning something of greater value. There is 50-50 chance for winning as well as loosing.


Gambling under the PUBLIC GAMBLING ACT, 1867: Act does not provide absolute definition of the term “gambling” but in manner to justify it provides provisions related to gambling which indirectly covers the ambit of gambling. However, according to Entry 34 of List II, under the Seventh Schedule to the Indian Constitution, "'gambling' includes any activity or undertaking whose determination is controlled or influenced by chance or accident and an activity or undertaking which is entered into or undertaken with consciousness of the risk of winning or losing, e.g., 'prize competitions, a wagering contract, .....Where there is no actual transfer of goods but only to pay or receive the difference according to the market price which varies from the contract price.[1]"


·       Is Online Gambling illegal in India

Prior to 2011 online gambling was in grey area. The 1867 Act was clearly mum about the online gambling activities. But with the development of technologies Indian government found its way out and introduce Information Technology Act 2000.


The Act was introduced in manner to keep eye on cyber-crimes, but soon its inadequate definition gave chance to gambler to excel their activities.

In April 2011,Indian government passed amendment by notification in official gazette, where for the very first time it comes with clear provisions related to online gambling. This Act was put in place on May of 2011. It was said to be the final curtain to close the doors to online betting in India, which was looking so promising. This was a federal law that said anything taboo or “gambling” was to be blocked at the Internet Provider level. Essentially placing the burden on Internet Service Providers to block thousands to hundreds of thousands of websites, including that of online casinos and betting sites. They forgot one thing, the States have the power. After this law was introduced Sikkim has continued to actively seek out partners for their online gambling licenses.[2]


Sikkim Licensed Gambling Sites

Sikkim is the only state which legalises and provides license for gambling .There has been a lot of interest in recent months about the state of Sikkim offering gambling licenses which will be valid across India.


Contribution to such websites

 The Information Act ,2011 clearly stipulates the term “User” under section 2(j)  "User" means any person who access or avail any computer resource of intermediary for the purpose of hosting, publishing, sharing, transacting, displaying or uploading information or view.[3]


Gambling offers a fun way to pass the time. Consider it as a form of entertainment and set limits for the amount you are willing to lose, similar to buying tickets to an event. In those cases, you know the cost going in and you are less tempted to risk more to win your money back.


[1] Entry 34 of List II, under the Seventh Schedule to the Indian Constitution



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