India: Online gambling in Delhi illegal

September 25, 2018

The entertainment acts took a new recourse when an element of chance was involved in them. Since time immemorial entertainment modes including games and other gambling acts have occupied people. While games on one hand require the exertion of certain degree of skill, labour and effort to win; gambling on the other hand is purely victory based on the contingency of occurrence of an event devoid of any skill.

Regulation of gaming/ gambling

Being a subject matter of the State list, gaming and gambling activities taking place within the territorial limits of a particular state are governed under the respective State legislations. While gambling is per se prohibited in India except for the States of Sikkim and Goa, gaming is permissible since they require exertion of mental or physical faculties. Games coupled with stakes are permissible in the country except for States such as Assam, Telangana, Odisha, etc. Online games and gambling activities are regulated likewise in the absence of any specific Central legislation in the said regard.

Online gamblers in Delhi caught red-handed

In the State of Delhi, gaming in both physical as well as online mode is permissible. However, gambling activities are strictly prohibited under the provisions of Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955 which penalizes public gambling.

On September 16, 2018, the Delhi Police caught hold of an online gambling racket running out of a residential building in East Delhi’s New Ashok Nagar. Officials suspect the operation could be linked to a money laundering racket as well.

The owner and manager of the said online casino provided their customers with a login ID and password of an online account created on a gambling website which they were allegedly using to play roulette on the computer systems available in their premises.

The owner and manager of the online casino along with 12 of their customers were arrested on account of contravening the provisions of the applicable State gambling laws which aims to curb the gambling activities within its jurisdiction.

While there remains lack of specific online gambling regulations in Delhi, the present act of the police throws light on the fact that the provisions of the gambling statute for physical activities also extends to the online activities within the State.


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