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Updated: Mar 14, 2021


Poverty is one of the main reasons why gambling is so widespread in India despite being illegal. Gambling was illegalized in India (except a few states) because it demolished many poor lives; it tore down the lives of people who are below the poverty line. In this article a detailed analysis regarding gamble, games as well as its legal aspects will be performed. In this article a comparative study of the laws of various countries regarding gambling will also be carried out. 


Legalization, gambling, game, skill, chance


Gambling is prevailing in India since the ancient period. Dice was used by the Indus Valley people and was first made by them during 3300 B.C. Gambling was even mentioned as a ritual in the Hindu Mythology. Gambling was also mentioned in the two most famous Sanskrit epic The Ramayana and The Mahabharata, though in the Ramayana the game was portrayed in a very casual and simple manner. The tone of the word ‘gambling’ totally changed in the second Sanskrit epic the Mahabharata, the total negative side the game was portrayed.

                                                      So, it is clearly visible that humankind and gambling both are connected with one another since the origination. Then why illegalize it? Why gambling laws are obsolete? Are there any other types of gaming which are legal? If there are other types why are they not illegal? These are some of the questions or some of the issues which will be discussed below. 

Many other websites, journals and articles are thoroughly scrutinized in order to perform this documentation and also to retort the issues rose above. 

The Modern Definition of Gambling

According to oxford dictionary the word gambling means “play games of chance for money” which clearly means that gambling is not a game which can be won by skill rather it is a game of luck. People get addicted to gambling not because of the game but because of the exhilaration and the thrill of the game.

Some of the examples of gambling are:

  • Lotteries

  • Casino Gambling

  • Poker 

  • Dice Games

  • Card Games

  • Spinning Wheels ( Roulette is the well-known version)

  • Sports Betting 

  • Online Gaming (the games which includes both luck and money) 

The Law 

In India, there is no specific law for gambling all over but according to Schedule 7 of the Indian Constitution under the State List (entry 34), the state can have their own legislations regarding betting and gambling. But due to lack of unification, there is an ambiguity regarding gambling laws like in some states casinos are legal but in some states it is totally prohibited. Goa, Sikkim and union territory of Daman are some states where casinos are legal. 

The game of poker remains in grey area as it is hard to determine whether it is a game of chance or a game of skill. It is important to identify because under section 12 of the Public Gaming Act of 1867, only game of chances will be considered as gambling. 

Rummy is considered as a game of skill and in the year of 1996 the game of rummy was made legal it was also said that rummy requires efficient skill and memory. 

Lottery selling is legal in about 13 states. Even it is famous in states like Mizoram and Kerala. 


Two amendments were made by the state of Goa in Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976. The amendments were done to legalize a few types of ‘game of chance’. In October 2011 many casinos were built in various luxury hotels as well as there are many gaming hubs that originated after the amendments. 


The second Indian state to legalize gambling and the acts were The Sikkim Casino Games, 2002 and The Sikkim Regulation of Gambling Act, 2005. 

Sikkim is also the first state that has legalized Internet/Online Gambling in 2010.  

Few examples of other Acts which are brought into force by other states which contemplates gambling

  • Assam Gaming and Betting Act, 1970

  • Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act , 1887

  • Madhya Pradesh Public Gambling Act, 1867

  • Orissa Prevention of Gambling Act, 1955

  • Punjab Public Gaming Act , 1867

  • The J & K Public Gambling Act, 1977

  • The Delhi Public Gaming Act, 1955

  • The Pondicherry Gaming Act , 1965 

  • Tamil Nadu City Police Gaming Rules , 1949

  • Tamil Nadu Gaming Act , 1930

  • Meghalaya Prevention of Gambling Act, 1970

  • West Bengal Gambling Rules , 1958 ( west Bengal is the only state which removes card games and poker from gambling)

  • Uttar Pradesh Public Gambling Act , 1961

The three most important Acts regulating gambling

  • The Public Gambling Act, 1867

  • The Payment and Settlement Act, 2007

  • Information Technology Act, 2000 ( though gambling is still in grey area in this particular act, because is states like Maharashtra online gambling is banned)


While discussing about gambling and rummy it is imperative to mention State Of Andhra Pradesh Vs K.Satyanarayana & ors. In this case it was judged that Rummy is not a game of chance but a game of skill, this judgment was given after testing the game which means the Supreme Court specifically tested this game to give judgment .Not only in satyanarayana’s case but also in Dr. K.R.Lakshmanan Vs State Of Tamil Nadu rummy is considered as a game of skill. But in the Ramachandra K. Vs Sub Inspector Of Police, it was decided by the Kerala High court that playing rummy will lead to the violation of the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960.  

                                     Another most remarkable case , the Bimalendu De Vs Union Of India also known as Kaun Banega Crorepati Case , in this case Calcutta High Court held that KBC is not a game which can be considered under the Prize Competitions Act, 1955 because this acts only includes competitions which is based on aptitudes , numerical and alphabetical puzzles.  

These were some of the important cases which are looked into.  

The Comparative study 

There are many countries where gambling is completely prohibited, few of them are 

  • Cambodia

           Gambling is an ancient issue in Cambodia and hence any type of public gaming is strictly prohibited in this country and this applies to foreign visitors too. 

  • North Korea 

Gambling here is totally restricted. Research says that there is only one casino in the whole country which is in Pyongyang. 

  • Japan 

Though gambling is totally prohibited both online and offline many activities still take place and it cannot be categorized as crime due to historical and cultural importance. There are few casinos in some luxurious hotels but online gambling is totally prohibited in all over the country. 

  • Singapore  

The Common Gaming Houses Act prohibits any kind of public gaming like lotteries, bingo, machine games etc. Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act, prohibition of any online gambling unless exemption granted. 

  • Qatar 

                   Any kind of game of chance or public gaming is prohibited and is illegal. One has to pay a huge amount of penalty if caught. Sports betting are categorized as crime in Qatar. 


There are various acts and legislations in various states of India and this is one of the main reasons that gambling law is still in the grey area. There is no such proper regulation for the states where gambling is legal. For economic and social welfare the central should be incumbent regarding the LAW. A proper analysis must be done to create new laws regarding gambling which will help to increase the economical structure in a developing country like India and will also reduce the rate of crime.  



  • State Of Andhra Pradesh V K.Satyanarayana & ors 1968 SCR (2) 387 

  • Dr.K.R.Lakshmanan V State Of Tamil Nadu & ors , Writ Petn.(C) No. 665 of 1986

  • Bimalendu De V Union Of India , AIR 2001 Cal 30

  • Gaming Laws In India By Bala Subramanian 

  • International Gambling Laws By ICLJ

  • Gambling In India By Simran Sabharwal 

  • The Prize Competition Act Section 2(d)


Author - Adrita Chakraborty

Student of School of Law, Gitam University.

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