Games in any form act as a form of recreation. Though gambling is not considered to be a good form of recreation, it is omnipresent in India. The reference to gambling in Indian culture can be seen even in one of the oldest mythological epics. People bet while playing cards, they make bets on animal fights on streets and before cricket matches. Virtual form of gambling has considerably taken off in the past few years, with one of the prominent contributor to this being the unseen advancement in technology. Playing casino games and sports betting over the internet is now loved by huge groups of people all across the world, including India. There have been many online gaming sites launched in India like rummy and poker.
Gambling legislation defines gambling as “The act of wagering or betting for consideration.” Online gambling is a state subject and central government has no jurisdiction on it. This means that it is permitted in one state and may be an offense in another. Certain states of India like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, etc. have adopted Public Gambling Act, 1867. The licenses of the online gambling firms are obtained by the UK licensed bookmakers which are legal under the European and International Law. However, the Indian laws have taken some measures to make the use of these sites tough.
The case of M/s Gaussian Network Pvt. Ltd. v Ms. Monica Lakhanpal is a landmark case in online gambling. The Gaussian Network approached the District Court in Delhi under the Order 36 of CPC and raised question related to online gaming. The court held that there exists a difference in games of skill played online and that played in physical form. In real games, the games involve more presence of mind. An argument can be raised that if it is legal online then it can be legal offline. There are websites which provide free online games and that is legal.
In the case of State of AP v. K. Satyanarayana, The Supreme Court held that the game of Rummy is a ‘game of skill’. It was further observed by the court that if there is gambling or if the gambling house is making profit from the game of rummy, then it could amount to an offense under the laws of AP.
The Supreme Court in Dr. K.R. Lakshmanan v State of Tamil Nadu and Anr. held that gambling is payment of a price for a chance to win something. Games can be of any form; it can have skill as well as luck included. The throw of a dice is totally based on luck. A game of skill also consists of chance but is not completely depended on chance. The success depends on the knowledge imbibed. Rummy was considered to be a game of skill in this case.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE
Absence of legal basis does not prevent gambling and betting from taking place. The most important reason for regulation is that it will not only control the illegal activities but generate revenue for the government to invest in social sectors, separately from the sports sector. The money earned from betting can be utilized to augment infrastructure for other sports and tourist amenities. We can take the example of the United Kingdom and China, that globally sports betting and gambling are used to generate funds for good causes and promotion of sports. If it is unstoppable, then it should be regulated so that at least some of the ‘black’ activities can be restrained and at the same time betting income be subjected to taxation. Having a global presence and easy access to internet has made regulation of betting really tough. It is widely acknowledged that a total ban on gambling is not realistic or sensible as it creates a vicious circle, which causes substantial monetary loss to the economy. Therefore, regulated gambling is an idea whose time has come.
In the current plot, gambling is illegal in India. But certain state legislations make it valid but only in that state. It is legal in horse racing, lottery and rummy. These games involve skill and not luck. The laws in India do not apply a uniform formula to every sport. Online gambling in India will continue to be an uncertain area until lawmakers do not come up with clear-cut rules about online gambling. With the passage of time, the forms of betting and gambling have changed. It can be precisely concluded that putting ban on online gambling is not feasible.
 M/s Gaussian Network Pvt. Ltd. v Ms. Monica Lakhanpal, Order of the Delhi District Courts dates November 19, 2012 in Suit No. 32 of 2012, pp. 24,25, 102.
 State of Andhra Pradesh v K. Satyanarayana and Ors, (2004) 1 AP LJ 14 (DB).