Online Gambling

Internet Casinos Inc. (ICI), the world’s first online casino, started operating from August 18, 1995, with 18 different games. Since then more than 1,400 websites, mostly domiciled in small Caribbean islands, have given rise to an industry that grosses over $3 billion a year. In fact no business on the Internet earns more revenue than online gambling. Out of the estimated 14.5 million online gamblers, almost 30 per cent are from Asia.

A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with a credit card can set up an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them free to place bets on sporting events like Wimbledon, cricket, horse racing and Formula One, or join a virtual casino to play slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker etc. Companies like Flutter and Betmart accept bets on anything from who is going to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range from a nickel to thousands of dollars and according to whether you win or lose the amount is automatically adjusted to your account. The final balance can then either be mailed to you or left for future bets.

The law relating to online gambling in India needs to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. At the outset, gambling, although not absolutely prohibited in India, does not receive express encouragement by policy makers. The Indian organized gambling industry is estimated to be worth around US$8 billion. While stringent laws have checked the proliferation of casinos and high street gaming centres as in many other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains the most post popular form of gambling.

Though gambling is not illegal, it is a highly controlled and regulated activity. Modern India is a quasi-federal Constitutional democracy and the powers to legislate are distributed at the federal as well as the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, this implies that the state governments have the authority to enact laws in order to regulate gambling in the respective states. Thus, there is no single law governing gambling in the entire country. Different states have different laws governing gambling in addition to the laws that have an application across the country. While some states have banned lotteries, other states allow state government lotteries marketed and distributed in other lottery playing and promoting states through private entities.

Regulation of gambling

The courts have defined gambling as ‘the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize’. The dominant element of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A game may be deemed to be gambling if the element of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. As a result, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and a few card games are not gambling. The right to undertake the business of gambling and lotteries is not considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It may however be pointed out that the state government run lotteries make significant contributions to the state exchequer of several state governments and the Union government, and hence there is a resistance to complete prohibition.

The following legislation is pertinent to gambling:

The Public Gaming Act, 1867

This Act provides punishment for public gambling and for keeping of a ‘common gaming house’. This Act also authorises the state governments to enact laws to regulate public gambling in their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended in accordance with their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not have any direct impact on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house so as to include virtual forums as well.

The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)

The ICA is a codified umbrella legislation that governs all commercial contracts in India. Under the ICA, a wagering contract is the one which cannot be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, and no suit shall be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager or entrusted to any person to abide by the result of any game or other uncertain event on which any wager is made’. Gambling, lottery and prize games have held to be wagering contracts and thus void and unenforceable. While a wagering contract is not illegal, it cannot be enforced in a court of law. Thus, the courts will not entertain any cause of action that arises out of a wagering contract.

Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998

This Act provides a framework for organizing lotteries in the country. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to promote as well as prohibit lotteries within their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner in which the lotteries are to be conducted and prescribes punishment in case of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by the state have been made an offence under the Indian Penal Code. Several non-lottery playing states, like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, have prohibited the sale of other state-government lotteries under this Act.

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 294A deals with keeping lottery office. It says that whoever keeps any office or place for the purpose of drawing any lottery not being a State lottery or a lottery authorised by the State Government, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

And whoever publishes any proposal to pay any sum, or to deliver any goods, or to do or forbear doing anything for the benefit of any person, on any event or contingency relative or applicable to the drawing of any ticket, lot, number or figure in any such lottery, shall be punished with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.

Internet gambling

The law related to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts and it is not possible to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.

As pointed out earlier, the online lottery is the most popular form of internet gambling in India. Most companies marketing and distributing or conducting state government-sponsored lotteries through the internet are not allowed to sell their services in the states that banned lotteries. In most cases, these marketers and distributors limit their online services to consumers who are residents of the states where a lottery is permissible. Notwithstanding the fact there has been no reported case of breach by any company promoting online lotteries, most of these companies (as a safeguard) seek an undertaking from their consumers relating to their residence.

There have been instances where one state has banned the lottery of other states, including online lotteries. In a recent case, the Karnatka High Court upheld the decision of the Karnataka government to make itself a ‘lottery free zone’ by imposing a ban on lotteries of all other states, including online lotteries under the Lotteries (Regulation) Act 1998. The state government, in this case, directed the closure of the terminals and kiosks selling the online lotteries.

Enforcement over foreign jurisdictions

If the websites are hosted and operated from outside India, it may be difficult for the Indian authorities to issue any directive to close them down or prohibit their access without using its blocking powers under the ITA. The authorities have little to worry about, as Indian foreign exchange laws do not permit remittances outside India for gambling related activity, such as the purchase of lottery tickets, football pools and sweepstakes. As a result, a gambling website hosted outside India aiming at receiving money from within India cannot do so through legal channels.

New Zealand’s Participation in Online Gambling

New Zealand and Australia are popular destinations for online casino and online gambling developers. These two countries present a market full of existing gambling fans, and online companies want to capitalize on the opportunity. Internet gambling has already become quite popular in New Zealand, but few facts are known this particular market, as the activity has yet to be fully regulated.

The Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand has delved into the issue, publishing a fact sheet which illustrates the popularity of online gambling in the country. According to the report, 8% to 10% of New Zealand residents take part in some form of online gambling. This includes playing casino games on the internet or via mobile phones. Television gambling is also included in the category.

Very little is known about New Zealand’s online gambling market at the moment, but some studies have revealed a bit of insight. For example, it seems that Maori individuals are more likely to gamble online as 17% of all online gamblers in the country are of that particular descent. Other studies indicate that young males of Asian descent are also likely to participate in online gambling.

The country’s current online gambling laws state that the only companies which are able to offer internet gambling services to residents are those regulated by the government. As it stands, the only two operators allowed to do so are TAB Corp and the New Zealand Lotteries Commission. It is not illegal for residents to take part in online roulette, online slots and other casino games offered by international operators, but those operators could face fines for offering their services in the country.

While New Zealand seems to have very strict guidelines about online gaming, things seem to be changing. For years, TAB Corp was the only company licensed for online gambling in the country, but the government has recently allowed the New Zealand Lotteries Commission to launch its own online gaming website. The New NZ Lotto website allows players to purchase tickets online and play other online casino games, a huge step forward for the New Zealand gambling market.

There is no word yet on whether or not the country will begin licensing foreign operators, but many residents continue to access offshore gambling websites. In an industry worth millions of dollars every year, it may be a wise choice for the New Zealand government to consider regulating all forms of online gambling activities.

3 Reasons You Might Want to Have a Online Gambling Strategy

Have you ever actually tried to put together a strategy online gambling? If you did, did you get far enough along at it to enjoy any of the benefits? Or were you among the majority who gave it a try, got no immediate results, gave up and turned to something else? Most never try at all. They fall victim to lack of energy or laziness. Some intended to try but stalled out for lack of knowing how to start. The specter of unknown factors scared off some. Others never really understood the potential benefits and got derailed, going on to something else.

Once you really understand about it, the things that have been holding you back fade away. Let’s have a look at the 3 main reasons that people decide to have a online gambling strategy.

First off, Gambling without a strategy is asking to lose all your money. O.K., I understand you when you object that you don’t want to put together a gambling strategy or don’t know how to put together a gambling strategy I concede your point, but you can always learn how to put together a gambling strategy to gamble online.

Second, by having a strategy for gambling, you are more likely to win money as oppose to losing money. Plus, by winning more money using a strategy you can gambling more with the same money to win even more money. And online gambling strategies aren’t hard to learn.

Third and last, there are many options to gambling online such as sports betting, casino games such as blackjack, slots, and etc., and poker games such as texas holdem, omaha, and etc. This will most likely mean that you have more chances to win money by learning different strategies for different gambling online. Once again, you will have a far better chance winning money with a strategy for gambling than without one!