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A new wave of laws and restrictions threaten online gaming in India. What does it mean for Punjab?

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | February 28, 2022 06:27 PM

The legal situation of casinos in India is far from homogeneous. Although in Daman, Goa and Sikkim, the industry has clear laws, the reality is that it does not in the rest of the country. 

The issue gets even more complicated regarding online gaming, a very well developed topic in the article from thenewsminute, "Legal Landscape of Indian Online Casinos (Casino Laws)". Since the casino jumped into the online world, the gaming sector in India has never been heard when claiming clear laws. 

In 2021, the situation got darker for the industry since a new wave of bans arose. These restrictions come when the gaming industry has been generating significant economic gains for the country.

Current situation of online casinos in India

Since 2020, the online gaming industry in India has been experiencing exponential growth. Such development is generating employment opportunities and offering promises of economic improvements.

 However, the lack of laws that regulate the gaming sector worries those who advocate for players' psychological and social safety and environment. For this reason, the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh passed laws to eradicate online gambling. 

In any event, this radical decision jeopardizes the professional career of many Rummy and Poker players, activities considered to be based on skill and not chance. 

Faced with this threat, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has intervened on behalf of the entire industry, succeeding in having the law annulled in the Karnataka case. This pro-gaming body alleges that the solution is intervention by the court to work on laws that allow the industry to provide tools that collaborate with responsible gaming and thus create a much healthier gaming environment.

What is the current position of the state of Punjab?

On April 18, 2017, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, under an order made by Judge Amit Rawal, ruled that fantasy gaming is completely legal and does not fall under the definition of "gambling" as it requires a certain degree of discretion, judgment and skill. 

Although there is this clarification, Punjab is one of the thirteen states with organized laws concerning the lottery. The reality is that outside this area, games of chance are governed by the National Law of public gambling of 1867.

Needless to say, since then and until today, times have changed a lot. Although Punjab has a more liberal view of gambling, and there are online casinos that can be accessed and wagered, the gambling laws need to be updated and respond to the needs of our times.

One of the reasons why the AIGF was able to achieve a step towards regularization is the following: with the proper legalization of online games of chance, it will be possible to reduce the risk of pathological gambling and, in addition, enjoy the social and economic benefits that the games industry can generate in India.

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