Gambling and Casinos- Legal or Illegal in India?

Gambling and Casinos- Legal or Illegal in India?

Date : 26 Sep, 2020

Post By Jonica E

The Public Gambling Act, 1867 ("Gambling Act") is the overall law administering gambling in India. Nonetheless, the state governing bodies, under the Constitution of India, have been depended with noteworthy administrative breathing space to frame state-explicit gambling laws. The Gambling Act is the central enactment which has been received by specific states in India and other states have enacted their own enactment to manage and oversee gaming/gambling activities inside their region ("Gambling Legislations"). A large portion of the Gambling Legislations have been enacted before the coming of virtual or internet gambling and hence these Gambling Legislations essentially allude to gaming/gambling activities at the physical premises.

The Indian laws and the Courts in India have been unwilling to any the game of possibility and likelihood, aside from in States of Goa and Sikkim. Since the approach of English standard, numerous Indian states have authorized the Gambling Act restricting all types of gambling and wagering in their particular states[. Goa and Sikkim are the main special cases which have permitted gambling and wagering in their state, subject to guideline of their separate state Governments.

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List II of Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution, blesses the state Governments with the ability to administer on issues concerning gambling and wagering.

'Gambling' isn't characterized under the Gambling Enactments. The word reference significance of gambling is "to stake something on a possibility; take a risk". The gambling under the Gambling Enactments does exclude (I) wagering on a pony race (subject to the legitimate guidelines); (ii) the games of expertise (prohibited under the Gambling Demonstration and by the court's decisions); and (iii) lotteries (controlled by lottery laws of India).

Landmark cases worth noting

In State of Andhra Pradesh v K. Satyanarayana and Ors [AIR 1968 SC 825], the Court held that:

"The game of Rummy is certifiably not a game entirely of chance like the 'three-card' game referenced in the Madras case to which we were referred. The 'three card' game which goes under different names such a 'flush', 'brag' and so forth is a the game of pure possibility. Rummy, then again, requires certain measure of skill in light of the fact that the fall of the cards must be memorized and the structure up of Rummy requires considerable skill in holding and discarding cards. We can't, therefore, state that the the game of Rummy is the game of entire possibility. It is mostly and preponderantly the game of skill. The possibility in Rummy is of a similar character as the opportunity in an arrangement at the game of bridge."

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In Manoranjitham Manamyil Mandram v State of Tamil Nadu [AIR 2005 MAD 261], the Court held that:

"Therefore, while it is the right of the litigant to have recreational activities which are not prohibited, the respondent's right to take appropriate proceedings against illicit games of wagering, wagering, and so forth is likewise provided for under the Act. Therefore, there can't be a blanket direction as prayed for by the litigant. The inquiry whether a particular game is a the game of skill or chance is to be chosen the facts and circumstances of each case. As and when proceedings seem to be; started against the litigant as per law, the appealing party will consistently have the right to scrutinize the equivalent or challenge the action of the respondents on the off chance that it isn't as per law."

The Gambling Act, by virtue of Section 12, prohibits 'the game of skill' from the purview of law. Supreme Court on account of Dr. R. K. Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu [AIR 1996 SC 1153] characterized 'the game of skill' as "one in which achievement relies principally on the superior knowledge, training, consideration, experience and adroitness of the player". The Court brought up that a the game of chance is one in which the component of chance predominates over the component of skill and similarly a the game of skill is one in which the component of skill predominates over the component of possibility. It is the predominant component – "skill" or "possibility" that determines the true character of the game.

The Supreme Court in Dr. R. K. Lakshmanan (supra) held that horse racing is a the game of mere skill inside the significance envisaged under the Madras City Police Act, 1888 and Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930. The Court clarified through various occurrences how horse racing can be considered a the game of skill as the wagering in horse races depend on evaluative skills and various other factors like skill and the board of the jockey.

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Online Gambling

The State of Sikkim enacted the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008, which was passed on 28th June 2008 by the Sikkim Legislative Get together with double object of controlling and regulating online gaming through electronic and non-electronic formats and to force charge on the equivalent inside its territory. The Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules, 2009 has been hence enacted and the equivalent has been corrected from time to time.

The Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 was revised on August 19, 2015 restricting the offering of "online games and sports games" under the licenses gave under the said Act to the physical premises of the game parlors inside the geographical boundaries of the State of Sikkim through intranet gaming terminals. At first, the wording of the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 envisaged that the permit will permit the licensee to offer its games across India without restricting it to the territory of Sikkim.

The Government of Nagaland has enacted the Nagaland Prohibition of Gaming and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2016. The said Act provides for regulation and promotion of "games of skill" through the issuance of licenses. This Act provides that the permit holders under the equivalent can operate from any State in India where gambling is permitted.

Sikkim has framed enactment regulating the virtual or online gaming activities inside its territory. Aside from the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 and Nagaland Prohibition of Gaming and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2016, none of the other Central or State gambling enactment explicitly specifies online gambling which puts online gambling involving 'the game of skill' in a gray area.

A portion of the other states worth referencing include:

West Bengal-Online gambling is legitimized in this state, aside from poker.

Maharashtra – The state runs moderate gambling. Lottery and horse racing are a portion of the games legitimized. Online gambling in this state is profoundly prohibited and restricted under the Bombay Wager Act.

Telangana – Gambling in this state is untidy. In the year 2017, the round of skills, round of possibilities, and all gambling was declared illicit under Telangana's Gaming act of 1974.

Tamil Nadu – The state is authorized to run horse race wagering. The Uttar Pradesh government is further broadening the arm on sanctioning club/ casinos.


The gambling laws in India keep on being confounding and unclear. The judiciary time again through various chose case laws have tried to clear the air and provide clarity regarding the matter. However, the recent mechanical changes have thrown open the sector and have permitted the majority to participate in activities which lie in the border line of gambling laws in India. These activities are yet to be scrutinized and tried through the courts in India. It is advisable that before somebody ventures into any gambling activity in India, he/she may take a sound legitimate advice in respect of the equivalent to avoid any unnecessary lawful ramifications.

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