Legality of Online Gambling- Position in India and Worldwide

Author: Annada Dubey, Student, Amity Law School, Noida, India


Abstract The act of gambling has multiple dimensions: the geographical or digital spaces where it is pursued, the means by which gambling is undertaken and the various types of activities that are defined by the term gambling. Gambling also carries moral dimensions linked to excess, addiction, loss of self-control as well as links to organized crime, which many legislations and case laws across countries sought to address and contain. This essay grapples with the history, application of laws related to gambling and exemptions to gambling in the context of India, the United States of America and the European Union. With mechanical advancement and development of the web, online gambling in India and abroad has become a source of mainstream entertainment. Internet games and lotteries are new participants to the disconnected industry of betting and wagering in physical gaming houses that have been otherwise carefully regulated in multiple jurisdictions. Similar patterns of emergence of new modes of gambling have been observed in Western contexts like the United States of America and the European Union. In India and abroad, the vast majority of the legislation relating to lotteries and betting was enacted when the online medium was nearly non-existent and opportunities for online betting/gambling had not been previously imagined. A lacuna began to form that did not suitably address the intersections of law vis a vis gambling especially with respect to online gaming, gambling and related betting/wagering activities. In the Indian context, certain important judgments including the two most recent Supreme Court decisions, i.e. the Mahalakshmi lottery Case and Kerala Case have been discussed to give clarity on the issue of the legitimacy of internet gaming, gambling and lotteries. In the context of the United States, the DFL case, US Antigua dispute and Cabazon Indian case have been discussed in some detail as a general outline on the legality of (online) gambling.

Keywords: Online Gambling, Lottery, Legislations, International Aspects.


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