Interdepartmental committee proposes central law to govern online gambling | Latest India News
An Inter-Departmental Task Force (IMTF) set up to explore new regulations for online gambling has recommended central legislation to govern them, calling the Public Gambling Act 1867, which currently covers it, “unable to cover/ defend/treat” with digital games. associated activities and emerging technologies.
“Furthermore, since we are in the process of replacing all outdated laws, it becomes all the more important to replace the existing law(s) with new legislation that will not only cover the full gamut of internet technology and gaming, but also provide cover for extraterritorial jurisdiction which is completely lacking at present,” the IMTF said in its report submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office in September.
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The report cited inconsistencies in state laws regarding online gambling while supporting central legislation. He stated that an online gambling platform must not authorize or facilitate transactions through unauthorized payment systems and encourage or facilitate any money laundering activity that funds terrorist activities or transactions in violation of the foreign exchange management law, etc.
The report notes that the Public Gaming Act (PGA) is pre-internet law and acts as a model law that state governments may or may not adopt. “The PGA recognizes the distinction between games of skill and games of chance. Games of skill are specifically exempted from the scope of the PGA… The PGA does not apply to games of skill.
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The report notes that many state governments have passed the Public Gaming Act as it stands, but some have also introduced their own legislation. “Some state laws provide a licensing mechanism for online games, such as Nagaland, Meghalaya and Sikkim. Some states have banned both online games of chance and skill involving any element of real money… Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha.
The report called the lack of a uniform regulatory approach for online gambling across state laws a cause for concern. He added that some state governments follow the Public Gaming Act and allow real-money games of skill while others have sought to ban both games of skill and chance, even though the Court supreme recognized the fundamental right to exchange games of skill.
“This creates an uncertain regulatory environment for online gambling companies, which are forced to use technologies such as geolocation because their games may be legal in some states and illegal in others.”
Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have passed laws banning both online games of skill and chance, but they have been challenged in high courts and ruled unconstitutional.
Karnataka’s and Tamil Nadu’s petitions challenging the high court rulings are pending before the Supreme Court. The Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act has also been challenged in the High Court.
Some states are in the process of developing their laws, which can add to the inconsistencies between state gambling laws. Rajasthan released a bill in June for comment and only sought to regulate online fantasy sports and e-sports. Telangana is also developing its regulatory framework. The High Courts have also rendered divergent judgments on the legality of a certain type of online gambling.
The report noted that the high court of Gujarat considers poker a game of chance and therefore illegal. The Calcutta High Court said it was a game of skill and legal. “It resulted in different legal positions in different states for the same… game.”
The report cited the panel’s consultations with state governments and said they were concerned about their limitations in effectively regulating online gambling. He added that they highlighted limitations such as a lack of clarity on the classification of games of skill and games of chance.
Reports indicate that state governments have said there is also a lack of guidance on what parameters should be used to determine what qualifies as a game of skill or chance. “There is no central regulator to assess whether a particular game is a game of skill or chance.”
In its submissions, the Union Home Office said the regulation of betting and gambling under a central law should be considered. The Department of Legal Affairs has declared that gambling and betting are matters of state. He cited several entries in the Union’s list in the Constitution under which the Center can regulate online gambling and betting.
Government think tank NITI Aayog has also backed a central law to support economic growth and innovation in industry. He also called for the development of a regulatory framework to quickly deal with online gambler grievances involving money.
The report indicates that state governments are struggling to implement and monitor geolocation measures to ensure that no user within their territorial jurisdiction is accessing an illegal form of gambling or gambling. further, state laws cannot empower state governments to block offshore betting or gambling websites that are illegal.”
The report noted that there is no central law to tackle illegal offshore gambling sites.
He said the Center’s power to block websites was limited. “State laws do not have extraterritorial applicability to block these sites.”
The report proposes a uniform law to determine what forms of online gambling are permitted. It sought to eliminate inconsistencies between the laws of different states and to have a single body to deal with issues relating to online gambling.
The report recommended the introduction of player protection requirements for online gambling platforms that are uniform across all states.
The IMTF pointed to the World Health Organization’s statement that “gaming disorder” was a behavioral addiction in 2019. It noted that the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child in 2021 described the harms suffered by children affected by the disorder.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology established the IMTF and its report includes recommendations from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Sports and Youth, Information and Broadcasting, Finance, of Union law and consumer affairs.
IMTF has been mandated to cover online games or games of skill, including real money games of skill. Online gambling has been excluded from its scope because betting and gambling are state subjects.