Indian High Court Denies Blanket Ban on Gambling

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The Delhi High Court received a request to start banning online sites that promote games of skill such as rummy. The complaint came from Deepti Bhagat and Avinash Mehrotra, who claimed that such sites were enticing gambling and draining money to offshore accounts.

Online gambling, as such, is already illegal in India, and the Reserve Bank of India claims to have made every effort to prevent offshore transactions to such companies from being processed. That said, it is well known that many international casinos continue to accept Indian players and that Indian online roulette and slots sites do exist.

The entire complaint was brought before the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi for examination. The result of that examination was the conclusion that the government is unable to regulate the operation of foreign companies or those hosted in other Indian states. In either case, the report also called for a more precise definition of games of skill vs games of chance, which have a blurry line dividing them.

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The International Issue of Offshore Casinos

Offshore casinos, as they are called, are a problem for many countries that are trying to restrict gambling online in any way. While states are able to impose laws that will prohibit locals from starting online casinos and gambling sites within the country, not even the USA can regulate the operation of international websites, often situated in remote island states such as Panama.

Offshore casinos are granted licenses by local governments and are allowed to accept any players they choose, as such actions are not against the law of the country they are operating in. On the other hand, countries find it difficult to restrict play at such casinos as many are emerging with different domains, and the use of simple VPN software makes it next to impossible to prevent gaming.

The best most countries, including India, can do is prevent monetary transactions to the best of their ability. Yet, with so many different payment processors out there, even this becomes a nearly impossible task. Without restricting online trade altogether, restricting gambling transactions becomes very difficult.

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Future of Online Gambling in India

Following the recent decision in Delhi, it remains likely that each of the Indian states will continue to regulate online gambling and online games of skill for itself. Online casinos are banned across the country in terms of hosting one, and this will likely remain such for years to come. We don’t expect any Indian state to allow legal hosting of online casinos within India.

That said, numerous online casinos that are hosted offshore continue to accept players from India and other countries with gambling regulation, and nothing short of an international intervention would prevent this. Since these are private companies hosted in sovereign nations, such a development seems very extreme and unlikely.

As such, the best conclusion at this time is that the status quo will continue for a long time. International casinos will keep accepting Indian deposits, while locals will also be able to legally play games of skills such as rummy at dedicated sites, some of which are affiliated with proper online casinos.

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Moves by specific individuals and groups to ban these sites altogether are also likely to continue, as it does seem reasonable that a developing country like India should limit the number of funds that are leaving the country for offshore accounts, but there appears to be little that can be done about it at this time.

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