Gambling, betting: India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Cricket betting

Is not gaming: HC

January 21, 2022: The Times of India

Cricket betting can’t be put under definition of ‘gaming’: HC

The court also noted that cricket being a sport, any incident of betting cannot be brought under the definition of ‘gaming’ in the Karnataka Police Act. Allowing the petitions filed by KPL players CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi, bookie Amit Mavi and Ali Ashpak, owner of Belagavi Panthers team, the judge said Section 2(7) of the Karnataka Police Act clearly says that “a game of chance does not include any athletic game or sport”. 
The prosecution had invoked Section 420 of the IPC, considering match-fixing as ‘cheating’. “For invoking the section, essential ingredients are deception, dishonest inducement of a person to deliver any property or to alter/destroy a valuable security. It was argued by the additional advocate general that cricket lovers go to watch the match by buying tickets and thereby, they are induced to part with their property – money. His argument that they are induced to buy tickets can’t be accepted. They may have a feeling that they are going to witness a fair game being played, but they buy the tickets voluntarily. The question of inducement to buy tickets can be ruled out,” the judge said and also negated the state’s contention that the accused can be proceeded against under Section120B of the IPC.

Fantasy sports online

Such games are not gambling: HC

Ajay Sura, HC: Fantasy sports not gambling, August 5, 2017: The Times of India

Playing fantasy sports online requires considerable skill and discretion, the Punjab and Haryana high court has held, observing that such games could not be considered gambling.

The observations were made by Justice Amit Rawal recently after a Chandigarh resident, Varun Gumber, approached the court claiming that he was a a victim of illegal gambling on a fantasy sports portal. Gumber had registered with the website on March 9 and transferred Rs 50,000 to its account to participate in the various “leagues“.

The petitioner submitted that at the end of two matches of cricket and football, he lost Rs 24,000 and Rs 26,000, which he had bet on his teams. According to the petitioner, the nature of the activity on the website was not based on skill and purely a game of chance, which amounted to gambling.

The company contested the petition claiming that they were registered with the ministry of commerce.


Online lottery should be banned: SC

The Times of India, Nov 06 2015

AmitAnand Choudhary

Online lottery is manipulative, should be banned, says SC 

Terming gambling through lottery a social evil destroying poor families, the Supreme Court on Thursday favoured a stringent law to control the menace and upheld the Kerala government's decision to ban online lottery. A three-judge bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justices R K Agrawal and Arun Mishra held that there was enough scope of manipulation in online lottery and there was nothing wrong in banning it. “The continued prevalence of the popularly known single digit and instant lotteries and the temptation offered by them proved to be the undoing of many families, especially poor daily wagers and low income groups. In spite of the guidelines issued by the Centre over a period of time as also the guidelines issued in the recent past by this court, the evil has not been totally eliminated,“ the bench said.

The court held that violation of rules was detected in the online lottery tickets issued by Meghalaya, Sikkim and Nagaland governments. It said several tickets with out the imprint and logo of state governments and without signature of the authorised officer have been found to be sold and the Kerala government took a right decision in banning them.

The bench said that as per law, the draw should be held once in a week but under the scheme of online lotteries, a number of lotteries run simultaneously . “It is common case that lottery is a species of gambling. Gambling is considered as a pernicious vice by all civilised societies from time immemorial,“ it said.

Legalising Gambling, betting

Lodha panel, 2016/ Law Commission, 2017

Dhananjay Mahapatra, `Should gambling & betting be legalised?', May 31, 2017: The Times of India

Law Panel Wants Your Opinion

More than a year after the Justice R M Lodha committee suggested legalising betting on sports in the wake of the IPL 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal, the Law Commission opened on Tuesday a 30-day window to solicit the views of citizens on betting as well as gambling.

While adding gambling to its original task of examining the legalisation of betting, the panel said, “The commission discerned that gambling is also a subject which is very closely associated with betting. While considering legalisation of betting, leaving aside gambling may render the whole exercise futile. “ In January 2016, the Lodha panel's report led to the SC issuing orders for reforms in the world's richest cricket board, BCCI. The panel had also recommended legalising betting. The SC did not accept this straightaway and said, “Recommendation made by the committee... involves enactment of a law which is a matter that may be examined by the Law Commission and the government for such action as it may consider necessary in the facts and circumstances of the case.“

Law Commission chairman Justice B S Chauhan issued on Tuesday an appeal to the public stressing the importance of the issue, “Various media reports time and again point out that betting and gambling, though not legal in India, is practised across the country clandestinely. These reports argue that many families are rendered bankrupt and many people are behind bars owing to these practices.“

The commission said strict rules against betting and gambling had not acted as deterrent. “Online gambling and betting is another area which has become very difficult to curb. It is understood that a lot of money is involved in illegal gambling business, creating almost a parallel economy , converting legally earned money into black money that is drained to gambling operators in other countries online,“ it said.

The panel sought views of the public on a wide range of questions: “Will legalising betting and gambling help in curbing illegal activities undertaken by citizens of our country in this regard? Will licensing such activities help the government earn substantial revenue and generate employment? How far will legalising betting and gambling be morally correct in the Indian circumstances? What could be a possible model by which people engaging in such activities can be safeguarded against bankruptcy? If legalised, should foreign betting and gambling companies be allowed to have a foothold in the country?“

Online betting games

HC quashes TN’s ban/ 2021

Sureshkumar k, August 4, 2021: The Times of India

The erstwhile AIADMK government’s blanket ban on online betting games was quashed “in its entirety” by the Madras high court as it was irrational and excessive.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said: “The legislation challenged herein has to be regarded as something done by the legislature capriciously, irrationally and without adequate determining principles such that it is excessive and disproportionate…”

However, the court made it clear that nothing would prevent appropriate legislation, conforming to the constitutional sense of propriety, being brought in the field of betting and gambling by the state.

HC quashes part of Karnataka’s ban/ 2022

Vasantha Kumar , February 15, 2022: The Times of India

Bengaluru: Much to the relief of online game operators, the Karnataka high court on Monday struck down several provisions of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021 that sought to regulate online gaming activities. 
Allowing petitions filed by the All India Gaming Federation and others, the court declared provisions of the Act to be ultra vires (beyond the powers) to the Constitution of India in their entirety.

The HC bench noted that the consequences of striking down the provisions of the amendment Act should follow and added that nothing in this judgment should be construed to prevent an appropriate legislation being brought about “betting and gambling”, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

A direction was also issued to the authorities, restraining them from interfering with online gaming business and allied activities of the petitioners. “When a statute is obscure or admits plural meanings with little for a common citizen to choose between them, there is absolute intractability of the language used,” the HC said.

HC cites Mahabharata in gaming order

They operate as statutes of violence on the sensible citizens since they don’t allow them to live securely under the rule of law,” the Karnataka high court bench said.

“The amendment act suffers from the infirmity of this kind inasmuch as section 2(7) which encompasses all games regardless of the skills involved, renders the charging provisions enacted in section 176 read with sections 79 and 80 of the principle Act so vague that the men of common intelligence will not be in a position to guess its true meaning and differ as to the scope of its application and therefore, is liable to be voided,” the bench observed.

The bench pointed out that the amended definition of ‘gaming’ under section 2(7) to the extent it does not admit the difference between skill games and chance games is indirect contradiction to the amended section 176, which intends to maintain such a difference.

“The very definition of ‘gaming’ as amended, suffers from the vice of over-inclusiveness/ over-broadness of the idea of gaming as enacted in the charging provisions of the Act that are animated by Chamarbaugwala Jurisprudence (SC judgment of 1957). The content of ‘gaming’ as capsuled under section 2(7) thus bruises the legislative intent enacted in section 176 ab inceptio and continued post-amendment, for protecting a class of citizens who plays the games of skill and therefore, fits into the text and context of this provision,” the bench noted.

“In Indian epic ‘Mahabharat’, King Yudhistira gambles away his kingdom, brothers, wife Draupadi and lastly himself to his cousins i.e. Kauravas and they all go to the woods. Yaajnavalkya Smriti has a verse which states that son should not pay the paternal debt that was contracted for the purpose of liquor, lust or gambling. Kaatyaayana Smriti states that gambling, if cannot be stopped in the kingdom, should be discouraged by imposing tax. Manusmriti injuncts that the king shall exclude gambling and betting from his realm since those two vices may cause the destruction of kingdom; a wise man should not practise them even for amusement,” the judgment read.

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