India prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy, rapidly on the move towards modernization. However, some parts of India are stuck in the past. For instance, India’s gambling law is a patchwork of laws that differ from state to state. Earlier this week a raid in Siolim took place, even though gambling in much of the state is legal.
The Problem with the Patchwork of India’s Laws
Much of the laws regarding gambling in India are over 150 years old. At that time, India was a British colony, and the law was British law. Like the United Kingdom, India decided to let gambling be determined by the states. However, some games are outlawed nationwide—in theory.
Many states in the north of the country, which borders Pakistan, do not have legalized gambling. The population is Muslim, and gambling is forbidden in Islam. However, gambling can be found in large cities, and tourist areas, such as Goa. Goa, a former Portuguese colony, has ten casinos, which is the most casinos anywhere in India.
In addition, there is no regulation of online gaming of any kind in the country. This has led to widespread issues from state to state, as well as nationally. Several successful Indian startups have made money from online gaming, even though it is technically not legal. In addition, Indians love to bet on sports. In most states, betting on horse racing is legal because it is classified as a skill rather than a game. However, betting on cricket is considered a game in some states—which makes it illegal.
Several stories have been reported in the newspaper. Gamblers have consent to bet online in one state and an arrest warrant from another state. This has been happening quite regularly.
In addition, raids of gambling locations have also been happening, even though in the state, gambling might be legal. This problem has been happening in states where gambling is legal in metropolitan areas, but frowned on in rural areas.
Card gambling remains popular in India, all over the country; even though card gaming is usually illegal. Poker enthusiasts have complained that poker, a game of skill, has been cited as a game of chance, and illegal.
The most recent raid was on a poker game in Siolim, a small town in Goa state. The police raided the game, arrested eleven men, and seized almost $2,500. The Goa superintendent reported that police were coming off their shift when they noticed unusual activity in the area. One of the men arrested was elderly and he needed medical treatment. He later died at a local hospital.
The men stated they enjoyed a friendly game of cards throughout the week, but no betting took place. The raid is a continuation of a gambling crackdown throughout the country. Even though the cases are often thrown out of court, the government still pursues them.
Proponents of gambling stated that India could benefit from the additional gaming revenue of a unified gambling law.
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