The online gambling laws and regulations in India is a tricky and complicated subject. We at Perry4Law receive numerous legal consultancy requests regarding legality of online gambling in India. The first question that owners of potential online gambling websites in India ask reads is online gambling and betting legal in India?
An online gambling website has to follow at least two different sets of laws. These include the gambling laws of India and the cyber law of India. Since the gambling activity is planned to be conducted through a website and in an online environment, the information technology act, 2000, which is the cyber law of India, has to be religiously followed.
There are well recognised legal requirements to start an e-commerce website in India and the legal formalities required for starting e-commerce business in India. However, in the zest of earning profit, e-commerce websites are not following the laws of India. In these circumstances, e-commerce websites frauds, offences and crimes in India have increased a lot. They are also not following the cyber law due diligence requirements of India and are liable for Internet intermediary liability in India.
E-commerce websites dealing with online pharmacies, online gamming and gambling, online selling of adult merchandise, etc are openly and continuously violating the laws of India, including the cyber law of India. However, India government has yet to take action against these offending e-commerce websites of India. The e-commerce websites in India must be regulated by Indian government as soon as possible.
As far as gambling in India is concerned, we have a central law on gambling known as Public Gambling Act of 1867. Similarly, we have many state laws on gambling that are mostly based upon the central law. Further, almost all the state laws are regulating real world or offline gambling in India. The exception in this regard can be found in the laws applicable in places like Goa and Sikkim.
Recently Goa has made its casino laws very stringent keep in mind the money laundering, black money and tax evasion issues in mind. Similarly, Sikkim is also in the process of harmonising its laws with the central laws.
As far as judiciary is concerned, the Supreme Court of India has made a distinction between skills based and chance based gaming activities. Of course, each case depends upon its own facts and circumstances and the respective state law and we cannot apply one decision uniformly in all cases of gambling and online gambling.
The skill and chance and state subject legal arguments are not sufficient to comply with complicated techno legal requirements of India as on date. So before launching an e-commerce portal, the concerned person or company must make it sure that techno legal requirements are duly complied with.