No single law governs gambling in India; the gambling regulations in the country are fragmented. Every individual state of India follows its own set of laws, rules and penalty systems.
Sikkim follows the Sikkim Online Gambling (Regulation) Act, 2008, which is based on online gaming. Nagaland follows the Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Bill, 2015 for the skill-based games. Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955 regulates gaming-house operations in the Union territory of Delhi. Similarly, the states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan have different gambling laws.
The Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955
Delhi Public Gambling Act regulates the gambling activities in the Union Territory of Delhi. The act lists a range of penalties for gaming-related offences. According to the act, gaming does not include the lottery games. It only defines betting (except betting upon a horse face) or wagering. The instrument of gaming is defined as an object that is used or intended to be used as a subject of gambling. A common gaming-house is described as a tent, room, or house in which any gaming instrument is kept.
The below mentioned are the five sections of penalties as per The Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955. However, the act does not describe the bailability for the offences.
- Penalty for owning, keeping or having a charge of gaming-house
- Penalty for being found in a gaming-house
- Penalty on persons arrested for giving false names and addresses
- Penalty for holding a gaming-house instrument of gaming to be destroyed
- Penalty for subsequent offence
Delhi police had raided an illegal casino with professional setup during Diwali. Four well-trained Nepalese girls were found to be managing three imported playing tables at the venue. The police report suggests that the 3000-yard farmhouse used for gambling was rented for 2.5 lakhs INR monthly. The enthusiasts had to punt a minimum of 5 lakhs INR as their entries at the playing tables. “This party was arranged ahead of Diwali, and many more such parties were planned. It had a closed group of players and no outsider. Only those with references could play the game,” said a police officer who raided the casino setting. Earlier, police have reported flourishing illegal trade in the Delhi’s suburbs of Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida.
Anupama Jain, a 45-year-old former Indian model, along with 25 other people, was arrested by Delhi Police a couple of months ago. She was allegedly operating an underground gambling house at Greater Kailash. Police had seized a poker table, a bingo game, 758,000 Indian rupees, money counting machine, 45 packets of playing cards, 2,700 gambling chips, 25 mobile phones, and several bottles of liquor from the site. It turned out that the self-proclaimed former model was the owner of the house.
Delhi Sessions Court at Patiala House has made a pathbreaking decision which is likely to change a few things in Indian gaming industry. The decision was made during the hearing of S Sreesanth, along with 35 other cricketers, who were named in IPL match-fixing case. However, no case was filed (against any of these cricketers) under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999 or Section 420 (offence of cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.
Earlier this year seven cricket bookies, namely Sumit Malhotra (30), Ashprit Singh (25), Anubhav Anand (22), Sachin Sehgal (36), Gagandeep Singh (31), Sumit Singh Sachdeva (22) and Satnam Singh (38) were arrested in Delhi. Identified as the residents of Delhi, they had gathered at a flat in the Model Town area during India-Australia match cricket fixture. Police had seized three laptops, a notebook, 12 mobile phones, and some cash from the site.
Change in Laws
Law Commission is India’s leading legal panel. The commission has hinted about some flexibility in the Gambling Laws applied for casino and cricket betting. “Betting and gambling is already happening through the internet, and it is hard to stop in the absence of an updated law,” a Law Commission member said earlier this year. He also added that ever-growing gambling market across the country can generate $60 billion annually.