The gaming scene in India, like the rest of the world, has irrevocably been shaken up with the evolution of digital and online gaming. While PC and Console gaming still remain wildly popular, the number of users indulging in online gaming is on a steady rise. In India, the gaming sector is regulated by The Public Gaming Act, 1857. In a study on Online Gaming in India conducted by KPMG India and Google in 2017, the online gaming market in India stands at 290 Million USD and is expected to grow to 1 Billion USD by 2021. There is more diversity among Indian Gamers and in comparison to the global market and it is ever increasing.
The Indian Constitution has granted the individual State Governments the right to enact legislation to govern gambling. But what exactly is the difference between gaming and gambling as provided by the act.
Game vs Gamble
The Supreme Court in Dr. K. R. Lakshmanan vs State of Tamil Nadu and Anr. held that,
"Gambling in a nut-shell is payment of a price for a chance to win a prize. Games may be of chance, or of skill or of skill and chance combined. A game of chance is determined entirely or in part by lot or mere luck. The throw of the dice, the turning of the wheel, the shuffling of the cards, are all modes of chance. In these games the result is wholly uncertain and doubtful. No human mind knows or can know what it will be until the dice is thrown, the wheel stops its revolution or the dealer has dealt with the cards. A game of skill, on the other hand - although the element of chance necessarily cannot be entirely eliminated - is one in which success depends principally upon the superior knowledge, training, attention, experience and adroitness of the player. Golf, chess and even Rummy are considered to be games of skill. The courts have reasoned that there are few games, if any, which consist purely of chance or skill, and as such a game of chance is one in which the element of chance predominates over the element of skill, and a game of skill is one in which the element of skill predominates over the element of chance. It is the dominant element - "skill" or "chance" - which determines the character of the game."
Nagaland, Sikkim, Assam are the only states in India that have their own gaming and gambling rules. The Sikkim rules state that the games have to be safe, secure and fair. In Nagaland, the state issues licenses for games of skill. But what is the need for such regulations?