With the world trying to shift its paradigm on the years-long debate over online gaming and gambling, Indian laws are also evolving to put a halt on the questions of morality and ethics.
Game vs. Gamble:
There are no specific laws dedicated to online gaming, online fantasy sports, online poker, etc. in India which makes it difficult for the gaming enthusiasts to indulge into the uncertain world of online gaming. The Supreme Court rejected a petition related to the legality of online poker, online rummy and online card games in India.
Supreme Court accepts lottery and horse racing as legal, but the laws regarding other games are still hazy.
The advent of the internet has expanded the horizons of the gaming industry, but in the absence of appropriate regulations, online gaming in India in many states is controlled by the available gaming and gambling legislation. Only a few states have answered the quandary of online gaming laws.
- The state of Sikkim has regulations applicable to the online gaming is the gaming is the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 & Rules, 2009 which allow certain games to be played within the boundaries of the state.
- Newly formed State of Telangana would be framing laws based on their ordinance where they plan to ban all sort of online betting and betting.
- The north-eastern State of Nagaland permits online gaming involving stakes by mandating the requirement of a license for the same through the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and promotion of Online Games of Skill Act, 2016 and Rules, 2016.
While some states have maintained an unambiguous stance over playing online games on their premises, others have strictly prohibited betting in any form within their boundaries:
- The State of Assam has forbidden online gaming under Assam Game and Betting Act, 1970.
- The eastern state of Odisha also bans online gaming under implementation of the Orissa (Prevention of) Gambling Act, 1955.
The Law and the legality:
Although the game of skill is not considered as gambling, the district court of Delhi observed that when skill-based games are played for money in virtual space, the same would be regarded as illegal as the degree of manipulations increase in the virtual area.
Central legislation must uniformly distinguish and regulate the online game of skill and gaming on the online platform.
There persists the requirement of Central legislation to uniformly distinguish and regulate the online game of skill from gambling on the online platform.