First, lets understand the terms
Gambling is an activity where someone risks money or belongings, there is an element of randomness or chance involved and the purpose is to win. Therefore, In general, Gambling is betting on the outcome of a game or an event that may have an uncertain result.
Betting, on the other hand, is considered to be a form of gambling. More precisely, betting is all about predicting the outcome of a future event and placing a wager on that outcome. Officially, Betting is identified as an organized commercial activity between two parties – there is one that predicts an outcome and places a bet and the other who either forfeits the bet or pays the agreed money to the player.
The world is certainly moving towards a more liberal viewpoint towards games of ‘skill’. Indian gambling and online gaming laws are either archaic or non-existent. The government hasn’t put forth any dedicated gambling laws and this century has hardly seen any techno-legal framework being formed. Gambling is understood both under its traditional form as well as a modern avatar. Traditional gambling is understood in the context of physical space, brick, and mortar format, whereas modern gambling consists of computers connected offline or online, mobile phones, the internet, etc. The Gambling Legislations exclude ‘games of skill’ from the purview of gambling and hence don’t attract the penal provisions.
Gambling and betting in India
In India, gambling and betting in sports are restricted but selectively exclusive to lotteries, horse racing, and casino gambling, though not uniformly regulated across the country. As horse racing categorized as an act of skill, betting is allowed in the game but excludes all other games that can be associated with an act of chance. The recent development by the Law Commission of India, which submitted its report to the government on legalizing the act of betting and gambling in India has invoked various controversies pertaining to the recommendation.
Betting and gambling have always been practiced privily and have a certain negative reputation in our society. The decades of social stigma associated with it as a result of its ill effects prevent the act to be practiced openly on our system. We all are well versed with the fact that attempts by law authorities to curb unlawful gambling and betting in sports are attempted to get evaded. With every cricket season or series, we come to know one or the other betting racket that comes under a legal lens and leading to various court cases on the issue.
There are many states and local regulations implemented to govern and monitor gambling practices across several Indian provinces but lack a proper centralized law framework. The Public Gambling Act, 1867 is the general law governing gambling in India. The state of Goa has allowed gambling by enacting the Goa, Daman, and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976. Sikkim is a second Indian State that has legalized gambling and also the first Indian state to legalize internet gambling. Similarly, various other states having their own laws in effect.
We embrace the fact that our social system, controversial thoughts, and perceptions do not allow and support to change the current scenario. Despite being seen as an evil practice in society, if practiced in proper guided channels, rules, and regulations set up by the government, it can deliver some transformation its ambit. One can also think of some of its positive outcomes once we have a different social outlook and acceptance of well structured and regulated gambling and betting practices, helpful in controlling the menace, could be an additional revenue of the government by imposing taxes and curtailing the unlawful practices.