Online Gambling and India

Gambling or online betting has existed in India since so many years ago. Thanks to the internet revolution and technological innovation, this game is just getting better and better at getting people to attached to it. If there is a new form of game that has attracted a lot of people and has a potential of billion dollars of revenue in a single year, that game would be online betting in India.

The bad news is our government has prohibited all games that rely on chance after ruling out the Public Gambling Act in 1867. All games of chance are prohibited, except games of skill and lotteries. However, most of these regulations are dated back beyond the time when the online gambling was invented. That means even the rules are not made to cover this subject, which also means, the rules should never be applied to rule online gambling in our country. Recent judgements from the Supreme Court, the Kerala and Mahalakshmi lottery case failed to give us a clarity on this subject. According to the Supreme Court in the Lakshmanan case, gambling is considered as betting or wagering on games of chance, instead of games of skill.

Chance vs Skill

In the case Satyanarayana vs State of Andra Pradesh, the Supreme Court decided that the game of rummy is basically a game of skill. It is completely different than online gambling in general, which is completely a game of chance. The Supreme Court believes that there is always an element of chance when we deal out and shuffle cars. It happens because there is no known pattern of the card distribution. It is all by luck or chance that a certain card is placed on the table.

However, in Lakshmanan case, the Supreme Court ruled out that a game could either a game of skill, chance, or both of them. The Supreme Court believes that in competition, where people need skills to achieve success, it reduces the aspect of chance and therefore, gambling itself.

Although the Supreme Court believe there is no way to rule out the element of chance, we all know that in order to succeed in a game, we all need skills, derived from our experience, attention, training, and knowledge. Therefore, there is always a portion of skill in every gambling. Perhaps, the court has to understand this first before they decided to ban online gambling in this country.