ONLINE GAMING OR DIGITAL GAMING IN INDIA
Online gaming spans from your simple pre-installed Solitaire to video games like PUBG. Digital gaming/gambling remains a grey area in India as it is yet to be adjudicated by Indian Courts. Indian Law classifies gaming into two broad categories; game of skill and game of chance.
‘Betting and gambling’ are under the State List of the Indian Constitution. However, only few States have taken measures in an attempt to regulate this area. Sikkim is the only State in India which has enacted a law for digital gaming and sports betting.
There are various legislations enacted by Centre as well as State for gaming activities such as the Public Gambling Act, 1867 enacted by the Centre. However, these statutes were enacted prior to the advent of online gaming and therefore these statutes primarily regulate physical gaming and gambling in physical premises defined as “gaming or common gaming houses”.
Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008
By this Act, a person can obtain a license from the State to operate a gambling house. Through this enactment, the State issued the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules, 2009 which permits online games after a license has been issued for games such as roulette, black jack, pontoon, punto banco, bingo, casino brag, poker, poker dice, baccarat, chemin-de-for, backgammon, keno, and super pan 9. The Sikkim Rules also ensure that these games are safe, secure and fair.
Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2015
This Act has empowered the State to issue a license for games of skill. The primary objective of the Act is to prohibit gambling and to regulate and promote ‘online games of skill’ within Nagaland after a license has been obtained from the State Government for specific online games that can be played in a legally regulated environment.
Telangana State Gaming (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017
This Ordinance seeks to make significant amendments to the Telangana State Gaming Act, 1974 (Gaming Act) so as to extend its application to the realm of online gaming.