Odisha, the land of Ashoka, is rich in coal, iron ore, chromites, and bauxite reserves. It is surrounded by Andhra Pradesh to the south, Jharkhand to the north, West Bengal to the north-east, and Chhattisgarh to the west & north-west. The 9th largest state by area and the 11th largest by population is located in eastern India. Gambling in Odisha is governed by the Orissa Prevention of Gambling Act of 1955.
Gambling Laws in Odisha
- The Orissa (Prevention Of) Gambling Act, 1955
- Public Gambling Act, 1867 (Act III of 1867)
- Bengal Gambling Act, 1867 (Act II of 1867)
- Madras Gambling Act, 1930 (Act III of 1930)
The Orissa (Prevention Of) Gambling Act, 1955
The Orissa (Prevention Of) Gambling Act, 1955, also known as Orissa Prevention of Gambling Act, 1956, ensure prevention of gambling in the state keeping an eye on gaming activities. The law states that house, room, tent, enclosure, vehicle, vessel or other place used for gaming purpose are considered as common gaming house. An article or document used as a means or appurtenance of facilitating gaming should be regarded as an instrument of gaming. A person who owns such a gaming house (house, room, tent, enclosure, vehicle, vessel or other gaming places) or gaming instrument for profit-making is an offender. The law mentions a wide range of offences and penalties.
10 areas where Orissa Gambling Act is active
- Penalty for gambling or gaming
- Proof of playing for stakes unnecessary
- Penalty for gaming or gambling in a common gaming-house
- Penalty for setting birds or animals to fight in any public place
- Penalty for owning or keeping or having the charge of a gaming-house
- Penalty for holding charge of a common gaming-house
- Penalty for giving false name or address
- Destruction of instruments of gaming
- Power to enter and authorize police to enter and search
- Finding cards in suspected house to be evidence that they are common gaming-houses
Online gambling channels are not open in the state owing to the Orissa Prevention of Gambling Act, 1956.
Assam and Odisha Gaming Act
After a ruling by the Madras High Court, online gaming websites are barred from offering services in Assam and Odisha. The Assam Game and Betting Act 1970 and Orissa Prevention of Gaming Act 1955 do not create an exception for games of skill.
Both the state laws do not permit any game for money or other stake and include betting and wagering. The two states also prohibit the business ventures allowing the enthusiasts of skill-based games for stakes. As per the Supreme Court, gambling activities in the country are inherently pernicious, immoral and contrary to public policy.
Gambling in Dussehra and Diwali
Millions of people in Odisha indulge in gambling during the festive season, from Dussehra to Diwali. Along with making merry, people are lured to earn a fast buck.
Police have raided on underground gambling dens in Jeypore and nearby locations. “In past one week we have conducted raids on several gambling dens and arrested many people. Our raid is continuing,” said Tapan Kumar Rath, the inspector In-Charge (IIC) of Jeypore police station, said after one such raid.
How is gambling different from skill games?
Skill and chance are two dominant elements which define the character of a game. In adherence to the Supreme Court order made in 1996, games of skill, whether they are played for money or not, is different from the definition of gambling. Gambling means betting and wagering on the games of chance.
Chief Justice S.R. Das said that the competitions involve a substantial amount of skill are not gambling. To play a skill-based game, a player needs knowledge, attention, training, experience, and ability. Hence, these games are different from the games of chance.