Rajasthan to make penalties for online gambling, betting stricter: Report

The Rajasthan government has approved a new bill amending the Rajasthan Public Gambling Ordinance, 1949, in order to ban online gambling and betting, reported Rajasthan Patrika. This bill is being prepared to be presented before the state assembly session, which is expected to be in session at least until Monday. 

The Rajasthan Public Gambling (Prevention) Bill, 2021, has strict provisions to prohibit online betting and gambling. Those found operating and playing online gambling and betting will be liable under the bill; penalties for the offences have reportedly been made stricter in the bill. The Rajasthan home department has approved the bill’s circulation in the state cabinet.

Under the Rajasthan Public Gambling Ordinance, 1949, an owner or occupier of a gaming house is punishable with a fine of Rs 500, a maximum jail term of six months, or both for the first offence, with the penalties increasing for repeat offenders. Penalty for being found in a gaming house can be punished with a fine of Rs 500 or prison term of a maximum of six months.

This law exempts games of mere skill, and distinguishes them from game of chance or a game of skill and chance combined, unless it is carried on in a gaming house.

With this bill, Rajasthan will join southern states in restricting online gambling or real-money gaming. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have already banned all forms of games that involve stakes, and Kerala has bumped online rummy from the list of skill games that enjoy an exemption from penalties under its gaming act.

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In October, the Rajasthan High Court had dismissed a petition alleging that Dream11 offers gambling services and was evading taxes. Being a game of mere skill, as has been ruled by multiple high courts and upheld by the Supreme Court, Dream11’s services do not constitute gambling, the Rajasthan HC declared, rubbishing the plea. Further, the court lent credence to the fact that Dream11 and other fantasy gaming platforms are “self-regulating” via the Federation of India Fantasy Sports (FIFS).

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