Regulations and laws differing from state to state in India often leave some ambiguity when it comes to gambling in India. For certain activities such as the lottery and horse racing are currently legal, but others often find themselves within a grey area. The surge of popularity in online gambling has driven many residents of India to online overseas sites, however, the fate of online gambling could be uncertain.
The current state of online casinos
Despite the Information Technology Act of 2000 intending to prohibit online gambling in India, both online gambling providers and patrons have found a way to circumvent this block. Although this act was created to regulate cyber activities related to gambling in India, online gambling isn’t specifically mentioned, leaving the field of online gambling in terms of legality murky.
Regulation and uniformity pose the biggest challenges across India since each state is able to make their own betting and gambling laws. Non-Indian online gambling sites have managed to circumvent this entirely offering their services through being registered overseas, creating a way for Indian patrons to gamble online. Recently however, there has been another update to the already cloudy waters of online gambling in India.
Can you gamble online in Tamil Nadu?
At the beginning of 2021, the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws Act from 1930 was amended, with the intention of banning ‘wagering or betting in cyber space for the state of Tamil Nadu’. Spurred in question through recent suicides due to the pressures of losing large amount of money to online gambling, this act is hoping to protect the residents of Tamil Nadu.
This bill condemns persons using computers or any communication devices that enables online gambling where people can place wagers and bets. Fines and imprisonment could be imposed for any persons or those facilitating online gambling.
While this strict blanket law encompasses games of chance, games of skill are exempted from this act and remain permissible. Whether a game is considered skill or chance is an area of contention troubling India’s online gaming industry, with no centralised law to make a clear distinction. The debate between games of skill or chance most recently came to light concerning fantasy sport platforms with the decision ultimately in the hands of the Supreme Court.
A game of chance or skill – where does fantasy cricket fall?
The foundation of games of skill are widely considered to have an outcome that is strongly influenced by a device producing randomised results, where very little input from a player would affect the outcome. Games of chance, on the other hand, are considered to have the outcome determined by mental or physical skill. Of course, rather than this being an unambiguous issue, many games include both elements to a certain degree.
Fantasy gaming apps have recently entered the spotlight for this debate. Platforms such as Dream11 allow players to assemble virtual teams from real players and collect points based on how these real players perform each week. After paying a small fee to assemble your virtual team, the fantasy gaming platform pools the entry fees with the intention to award it to the patron with the most points. With all the elements of gambling, small entry fees, large payouts, and betting on real-life players, how is this legal in India?
The Supreme Court recently hailed the online fantasy sport platform, Dream11, as a game of skill. This comes off the back of a Special Leave Petition (SLP) which alleged the format of fantasy sports encourages individuals to gamble.
A judgement from an Indian High Court regarded Dream11’s platform, popular for creating fantasy teams for cricket, involves ‘considerable skill, judgement, and discretion’ arising from ‘users’ exercise, superior knowledge, judgement, and attention’ (from the case of Varun Gumber v. Union Territory of Chandigarh).
While it is possible to deposit money to Dream11 with Debit and Credit Cards, the use of e-Wallets also carries some controversy within India’s online gaming industry.
How can contradictions keep the industry alive?
While the discrepancies within India’s online gambling laws continue to remain uncertain, the contradictions of opinions regarding games either being labelled skill or chance, could keep the online gambling industry alive, such as the case to allow fantasy sport platforms, as long as online payments processing is possible.
Depositing and withdrawing money within overseas online gaming sites has evolved to withstand blockages put in place by any online gambling laws in India. The best online casinos in India, as compiled by www.casinos-india.in, use payment methods such as e-Wallets and Unified Payment Interfaces circumvents the blocks that are put in place, opening new and evolving payment gateways. Using third-party payment solutions is also attractive to allow patrons to deposit and withdraw in Rupees, further mitigating the hassle of converting Rupees into another currency for online gambling.
It’s fair to say that as long as online payments processing is possible, coupled with the discrepancies within India’s online gambling laws, the industry will stay alive.