Punjab, the twentieth largest state by area and sixteenth largest state by population, is carrying the lowest level of hunger (as per the 2008 Global Hunger Index) in India. Popularly known as the land of five rivers, this north Indian state is one of India’s most fertile regions. Pakistan borders it to the west, Himachal Pradesh to the east, Rajasthan to the southwest, Jammu & Kashmir to the north, and Haryana to the south. In 2008, first online lottery game was introduced in Punjab. On a broader prospect, Gambling is illegal in Punjab. Here are some facts and figures of the gambling laws followed by this state.
Punjab Prevention of Gambling Ordinance, 1978
The law, come into force in March. 15, 1978, extends to the whole of the Province of Punjab. This gambling law in Punjab states betting, including wager or bet made in respect of any horse, mare or gelding running in competition is called gaming. This law also says that house, room, tent, enclosure, vehicle, vessel or other place uses for gaming purpose should be 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 keeps such a gaming house (house, room, tent, enclosure, vehicle, vessel or other gaming places) or gaming instrument for profit-making should be considered guilty. However, the Punjab Prevention of Gambling Ordinance deals with the below-mentioned areas.
- Penalty for gaming in a public place
- Penalty for gaming in private places, etc
- Penalty for owning or keeping or having charge of a common gaming house
- Penalty for being found in common gaming-house
- Power to make rules
- Power to enter and search
- Enhanced punishment for subsequent offenses
- Presumption with respect to common gaming-house and persons present therein
- Tender of pardon to an accomplice
Fantasy Sports are Games of Skill, Says Punjab HC
Even though it is divided by religion, culture, habits, cuisine, languages, and status, we should not be doubtful in this fact that India is a sport-loving nation. Cricket is the leading game among the vast assortment of sports played in our country. As per an order scheduled by Punjab and Haryana High Court on 18th April 2017, participating in an online fantasy game requires a certain degree of skill. So, it should not be considered as gambling. The concerned order was made by Justice Amit Rawal while hearing a petition reported in The Times of India and filed by Advocate Varun Gumber.
Sukhbir Singh Badal, the deputy CM of Punjab, proposed in 2012 to set up a Las Vegas strip-like casinos at Mattewara village near Ludhiana. In this context, he made an order to the state’s infrastructure development agency Punjab Infrastructure Development Board to make a four-day visit to Goa. The three-member team was instructed look at the possibility of installing slot machines and casinos in Punjab. The minister was willing to make Punjab the third casino state after Sikkim and Goa. PIDB Managing Director Anurag Aggarwal said: “These casinos which we are planning are a part of our recreational amusement zone project near Ludhiana. The purpose is to increase the tourist footfall in the state. Our team has just returned from Goa after studying casinos. We’re going to seek more advice and help on legal, technical and operational details from Sikkim and Goa governments.” But yes, American Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, under Dr. Pritpal Singh and JS Hothi, had opposed the proposal to open casinos in the land of Punjab. According to them, gambling is prohibited in Sikh religion. “Sukhbir should not go ahead with such a proposal. This move is condemnable. We will soon write to Akal Takht Jethedar to take notice of this move as it is against the Sikh ethos and principles,” they said.
Online lottery is best known as Internet gambling or iGambling in our country. You might be interested to see whether it is legal in the land of five rivers or not. Let’s get into the facts. It was illegal during the Congress regime. But, in 2013, the Government of Punjab gave a green signal to online lottery and horse racing. Some of the cabinet ministers found iGambling as a fund-raising project. Punjab Cricket Board came forward to support this order.
Gambling Can Improve the Economic Condition in Punjab
Driven by the economic crisis, the Government of Punjab is now trying to move the state in the upward direction. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal think that the help of online lottery gambling and liquor business can improve the condition in the state. They want to make it a debt-free state as soon as possible. The government is now earning 30 crores from online lottery which is expected to grow by ten times in the years to come. Also, the cabinet is looking forward to reducing the liquor price to earn an additional 2000 crore.