Online Gambling Surge in India

Published Wednesday, May 13, 2009 -

Salman Waris who is head of Technology Law Practice of FoxMandal Little and a cyber law and crime expert has this to say about the online gambling scene in India, "The Indian Government has not been able to come up with specific laws by amending the Public Gambling Act or making the IT Act cover online gambling both directly or indirectly.

Cricket being a religion in India, cashing in on its massive following has been a lucrative proposition. A simple Google search on cricket betting in India yields many results including specific sites, such as guides on cricket betting and directories of betting portals. Though there are no specific laws in India dealing with internet gambling, online lottery and betting, these activities are considered illegal. As land based operations in India are under stepped up pressure from authorities the focus is shifting to the virtual world causing a sudden surge in online gambling. The outdated Public Gambling Act, does little to deter the growing tendency in India to wager online.

Waris explained, ''Anyone who has a credit card or a debit card can become a member of a betting site, and play for chance. The wins are credited to the individual's account or mailed. Though, Indian laws prohibit remittances of foreign exchange for gambling related activities, the transactions are barely monitored unless they are of high volume. Further, the online gambling sites have been registered as sports clubs or entities,''

Most gambling sites are located offshore making enforcement difficult though the Indian IT Act which has extra-territorial jurisdiction with regard to computer-related offences committed in India. Out of the reach of Indian laws, many of the websites are hosted in countries where gambling and betting is legal. Evidence is routinely shredded as part of housekeeping,so commonly there is no data to support prosecution. Blocked web sites just change their addresses and are in business again.

The revamping of the antiquated Public Gambling Act and the IT Act are the surest methods for trying to stem the tide of online gambling in India. It may happen but not any time soon.

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