Gambling has been prevalent in India since ancient times. It’s a leisure activity that people indulge themselves in during their free time however a few indulge in it to earn a big amount in a short time. India doesn’t have any law that governs online gambling, The Public Gambling Act 1867, governs the gambling activities in India. Gambling is a state matter so the state government has the power to make laws regarding the same. This is the reason that different states have different gambling laws. Since the public gambling act was made way earlier internet boom so lacks the legislature that governs online gambling. Except for the lotteries and game of skill, The Public Gambling Act bans all kinds of games in which gambling can be done.

Status of Online Gambling in the Indian States

Some states like Goa, Daman, and Sikkim have allowed gambling and betting which includes casinos also. At present Sikkim and Nagaland is the state that allows online gambling, in fact, it has made its own regulation, The Sikkim Online Gaming Act 2008, and The Sikkim Online Gaming Amendment Act 2009, which regulates online gambling by providing licenses to them. In order to generate more revenue for the government, The Sikkim Online Games and Sports was introduced in 2015, and the objective was that the game played through the internet cannot traverse outside of Sikkim.

Nagaland has passed legislation that bans all kinds of gambling that includes betting and wagering on games involving games based on chance. However, the exceptions to this law are the games that are based on skill.

Orissa and Assam have put a blanket ban on all kinds of gambling games and activities in their territory. Telangana is the newest state that has prohibited online betting.

The state of Punjab has announced that it plans on conducting online lottery schemes that will aim at generating revenue for the state. In Madhya Pradesh like all other states, games based on chances are banned and one can only indulge in games based on skill.

Judgments on Game of Skill and Game Of Chance

The Supreme Court of India has given judgment regarding the cases in which there is confusion that whether this game is a game of skill or a game of chance.

In-State of Andhra Pradesh Vs. Satyanarayana the Supreme Court held that the game of rummy cannot be considered as a game of chance because one has to keep tabs on the fall cards and certain skill is required to memorize it. Therefore, it was held that the game of rummy cannot be said as the game of chance. It is mainly and predominantly the game of skill.

In Dr. K.R. Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court held that the game of horse racing, football, chess, rummy, golf, and baseball are games based on the skill of a person. It was held that the game of horse racing is a game of skill as one has to judge the skill of the jockey, the nature of the race, and the horse’s ability amongst other skills as well.


Controversy Regarding Online Betting

There have been certain controversy regarding the ban put on the game of chance and not on the game of skill, different High Courts are of different opinions regarding this matter.

In Varun Gumber v. U.T., Chandigarh the Punjab & Haryana High Court held that in order for one to succeed in Dream 11 one has to have superior knowledge, judgment and attention while selecting the players. Hence, it was held that Dream 11 is the game that predominantly is the game of skill, not the game of chance.

Similar views were reflected in the orders of the High Court’s of Bombay and Rajasthan which declared that Dream 11 was not conducting acts of betting and gambling and was not avoiding taxes.

A petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the order of Bombay High Court, however, the Supreme Court had outrightly dismissed the petition that Dream 11 comes under the ambit of the game of skill. The matter is freshly filed in the Supreme Court.


Instead of putting a blanket ban on online gambling in various states, it needs to be regulated. Because once it’s regulated it will be an alternative source of revenue for the state. Gambling still comes under the grey area in India as many games are considered as the game of skill while similar games are considered as a game of chances. The classic example of it is that the game of horse racing is considered a game of skill; while cricket is considered a game of chance as it is illegal to bet on cricket. The gambling society is continuously increasing in large numbers and it is bringing lots of un-regulated money with it.

The olds laws are not enough to govern or regulate them hence the new laws are needed. The new laws will provide certain clarity on the legislation regarding online gambling as this will help in curbing illegal activities.

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