With a recent fixation on apps like Dream11 and Paytm, First Games piques curiosity: Is gambling legal in India? The answer is as confounding as the history of the nation with Lady Luck.

Last year witnessed a hell of a saga from Dream11 sponsoring the Indian Premier League(IPL) to Google taking down Paytm from its Google PlayStore insinuating, it to be a gambling app. But, let us clarify it right off the bat, play on the likes of Dream11 has a green signal from the powers that be.

Gambling laws in India are exceedingly intricate. Federal Government subsumes the industry under ‘game of skill’ and ‘game of chance’. Be that as it may, gambling is a state’s turf. So, it is clear as a day why casinos are allowed in Goa.

What is online gambling?

  • It is a self-defining term that is betting via the Internet.
  • The Internet has penetrated every nook and cranny of our life’s and, gambling is no different.
  • Today it owns a whopping $40 billion market globally.

The lie of the Indian land

  • The gambling market is forecast to be upwards of $60 billion per year.
  • Judi slot alonecontributes big fat money of INR 100 crore every single year to the government in taxes.
  • Skill-based games alone are gaining traction at the rate of 30% annually.

COVID-19 impact

The pandemic cooped up people in their homes, creating a conducive environment for online gambling.

Lawsabout gambling

  • In India, there is no clear-cut regulatory framework for online gambling.
  • Foreign companies regulated by the global licence are allowed to operate.
  • There is no dedicated Online Gambling Laws in India.
  • It is noteworthy that the state legislations were enacted before the advent of online gambling in India and, therefore, mention of gambling in respective state legislatures is concerned with physical premises only.
  • There exists a lacuna that leaves room for ambiguous interpretations.

High court interpretations

  • The Punjab and Haryana High Court adjudicated that Dream11 is a game of skill and thus not prohibited.

Negative effects

  • Addiction and Crime:
  • ‘Gambler’s Fallacy’ states that a player believes that if the dice has not shown up ‘6’, then the probability of it to show up in the coming few rolls increases, stimulating him to lose good money after bad.
  • Gambling Disorder:
  • Gambling disorder is a result of biological, psychological and social risk factors.
  • Biological risk factors are genetic.
  • Psychological risk factors are related to the temperament of a person.
  • Social risk factors are mostly related to easy access to gambling and money.

Way forward

It is impossible to root out gambling completely. So it is better to regulate it. Distinguish between ‘high stake’ gambling from ‘low stake’ gambling. Open high stake gambling only for affluent individuals. Law commission suggests cashless transactions and compulsory use of PAN and Aadhaar Cards for keeping track of the money. This way, even state governments can replenish their coffers to cope with the desperate situations induced by COVID-19.

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