The center’s online gambling rules are very clear, real money games declaring winners based on prediction are prohibited: ASG

The center’s online gambling rules are very clear, real money games declaring winners based on prediction are prohibited: ASG

The center's online gambling rules are very clear, real money games declaring winners based on prediction are prohibited: ASG

Putting money on uncertain events is like gambling and new government rules ban real-money online games that declare winners based on the prediction of the unknown outcome, according to Additional Solicitor General N Venkataraman.

Amid attempts by some industry players to pass off betting as a game of skill following new rules issued under the Information Technology (IT) Act, the chief legal officer of the government said some states make an error in trying to distinguish between a game of skill and a game of chance in the context of betting.

He also pointed out that the rules should be tested on the basis of the country’s Constitution, statutory provisions and Supreme Court judgments.

“The new rules notified by the Center are very clear. There is no ambiguity. Our courts have ruled that betting is illegal, and any business based on betting is res extra commercium, meaning a anything outside of commerce. Such businesses cannot be carried on in India,” Venkataraman told PTI on Tuesday.

In an interview, he pointed out that putting money on uncertain and unknown events is equivalent to betting and that the new rules prohibit real-money online games that declare winners based on prediction or speculation on the result unknown.

The new rules state that all online games that involve a prize element must be registered with self-regulatory organizations (SROs) which will include a mix of experts from various fields.

If an online game involves a wagering element, it will not be registered by the SROs and such games cannot be hosted on the Internet. Any type of advertising relating to these online games is also prohibited under the new rules.

According to Venkataraman, states err in trying to distinguish between a game of skill and a game of chance in the context of betting rather than testing their rules based on the Constitution, statutory provisions and various judgments. of the Supreme Court.

While saying that playing a game is different from predicting the outcome of a game, he wondered, “How do you know that ball is going to be six or four? If a player will be on the game team or no? If the chosen player would perform well or not? How do you know you will win the game before the game is even played?

“The stakes today are placed on these uncertainties, anxiously hoping that the predictions will come true to reap rewards higher than the amount at stake,” Venkataraman said.

The additional Solicitor General also said that the Minister of State for Electronics and Computers, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, in various consultations, clearly explained the new rules, but some industry players tried to confuse and to defend their games by introducing the concept of games of skill in the context of betting.

“Take the example of Teen Patti and Cricket. The first is a game of chance and the second is a game of skill. In both genres, the outcome of the game for the player as for the spectator, remains unknown and uncertain. .

“When money is thrown at this uncertainty, it amounts to a gamble. Skill or chance is simply irrelevant when money is thrown at the outcome of a game,” Venkataraman said.

He also cited Supreme Court decisions from 1957 to 1995 that defined betting and found it illegal under relevant national laws, and rejected the argument that experts are able to make predictions based on of data sets.

Explaining further, Venkataraman said that the Supreme Court ruled that horse racing is a game of skill, but predicting which horse will win and betting money on that uncertain outcome would just be gambling and therefore illegal in under applicable law.

Asked about the legality of matches that charge a fee for play and can give a cash prize to the winner, he said paying a fee to enter a tournament or match is legal, but throwing money to predict who will win the game and go higher returns are forbidden.

On his view on the rules introduced by some states which have granted an exemption to a set of real money games which claim to be games of skill, Venkataraman said that states must make laws in accordance with the law. established by the Supreme Court.

“They err in trying to distinguish between a game of skill and a game of chance in the context of betting. Such differentiation is directly against the law of the land as pronounced by the Supreme Court .

“When it comes to betting on the unknown and uncertain outcome of a game, it becomes a gamble regardless of the nature of the game. Skill or chance pales into insignificance,” he said. said, adding that the Centre’s new rules will apply to everyone. States.

Venkataraman also expressed concerns about the impact of online real money gambling involved in betting on society and the country as a whole.

According to him, many sites are controlled from outside India and Indian money is sold outside the country through fictitious accounts and to anonymous jurisdictions.

These companies are clearly outside India’s regulatory and tax systems and are therefore dangerous to the country’s tax structure, he added.

“In one of the platforms run from outside India, their bank account showed turnover of Rs 14,000 crore. (And) no taxes were paid in India,” said Venkataraman by highlighting the legal actions taken by the tax authorities with regard to such platforms.

The lead attorney also said the online gambling controversy is not just about legality or otherwise in the context of betting, but there are also deep-rooted social issues, which the government is concerned about.

“There is an element of addiction among young people and loss of hard-earned money by citizens. Apart from this, possible money laundering and other aspects of crime and abuse also cannot be excluded,” he said.

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