What is online gambling ?

Online gambling is basically internet gambling. Any form of a game which involves gambling played using an internet connection on any device such as computers, laptops, mobile phones etc, can be called as online gambling. Players who gamble online using the internet facility are known as online gamblers. We can take an example of online casinos, they are regulated in the same way as physical ones and the games and the odds are mostly identical and similar. Many offline casino brands also have online games available.

Players play by uploading funds to an account and then using those funds to bet on games. Online gambling games can include everything from poker and blackjack to roulette and craps, so you get the full effect of a real casino. There are a variety of games usually available, such as bingo and Keno or slot games. Online gambling is a fast-growing industry and many new gamblers sign up every day. The games can usually have extra features and are often animated too, making them more interesting for the player and there are fewer limits on play.

Why is Online Gambling More Dangerous than offline Gambling?

➔ If a gambler spends some days gambling at a casino, it is likely that someone will notice (friends, family, casino staff, etc.). However, online gamblers can play at work, at home, or even on mobile phones without anyone being aware that they are gambling.

➔ Online gambling makes it very easy to access to one’s bank account details and is always only a click away – which makes the spur of betting and “carrying losses” much greater compared to locations where one has to physically withdraw money from a bank machine.

➔ Online gambling businesses are not well regulated. It becomes very hard to determine exactly who is running an online gamble, whether the stated odds are accurate or correct, and there are not much legal options to act upon the gambler has been defrauded.

➔ On the internet, it is easy to forget that electronic money is still the real money. Players may be able to use credit cards to deposit money into an online account that they can access as funds inevitably run out.

➔ Players unknowingly provide personal information or credit card details to non-reputable online gambling websites which may be place them at risk for identity theft and credit card fraud.

What is the status of online gambling in different countries?

India

Although the Indian government does not give licenses to operate or use online gambling websites, there are no specific laws that explicitly prohibit or restrict online gambling. The vague, unclear, outdated legislation related to online gambling makes it very difficult to determine whether online gambling is banned in India or not? Currently, no laws suggest whether online gambling in India is legal or not. As a general rule, the laws governing betting in land-based wagering activities apply even to internet gambling. Two states in India have introduced specific legislation related to online gambling. In Maharashtra, Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887 (applicable to the State of Maharashtra) define common gaming house as any enclosure, house or place and lay down punishment for any person found in that common gaming house nothing is clear regarding online gambling, while in Sikkim government issued a memorandum known as Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules, 2009. This outlines the rules and regulations for online gambling licensing within that state. The government now has the authority to issue licenses to operators wishing to provide online gambling services within the state for a period of one year. Recently, a new law Foreign Exchange Management Act has been imposed, which states that online payment on gambling sites must be done only in Rupees. On 3 September 2015, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) issued a Circular titled “Clarification on Tax Compliance for Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets” under the black money act which directs the online poker players in the country to declare their money transactions on foreign poker sites through the e-wallets and virtual cards. There is another law that is Public Gaming Act of 1867, all kinds of gambling in India are illegal but unlike the US there is nothing as a reference to online gambling. Another Act that is The Information Technology Act of 2000 makes provisions for various offences relating to the online activity, although again there’s no specific mention of online gambling being illegal. However, it does give the Indian government the power to block foreign websites under Section 69A.

Should India enact a specific online gambling law?

Yes, there should be specific laws as to online gambling in India. Suppose an Indian resident decides to place bets on a website hosted outside the country, it would be difficult to hold him guilty of online gambling if the laws of the country where the website is hosted, permits online gambling and the country from where the person belongs does not have any law as to internet gambling like in India.

Singapore

In 2014, the parliament of Singapore introduced Remote Gambling Bill against online gambling locally. The parliament approved the bill and it became an act called Remote Gambling Act 2014. The Act will criminalise the entire scope or spectrum of online gambling activities. The restrictions upon it are very broad and will be felt by operators, agents, brokers, service providers, broadcasters, advertising networks, payment processors, financial institutions, ISPs – and of course, players, with potential sanctions including site blocking, payment blocking, fines and prison terms.

Punishment for online gambling

An individual who, in Singapore, gambles online using a remote gambling service that is not provided by —

an exempt operator or a person otherwise exempt under section 40 from section 10 or 11 shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.

Offence of publishing remote gambling service advertisement

  • Any person who publishes, an online gambling service advertisement in Singapore shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000.
  • For the purposes of this section, an online gambling service advertisement that is included on an online location may be regarded as published in Singapore only if the online location is accessed, or is available for access, by end‑users in Singapore.
  • This section does not apply to an exempt operator who publishes or authorises the publication of, a remote gambling service advertisement in accordance with the conditions of its certificate of exemption.

Japan

Online gambling in Japan is illegal. Licenses have not been granted to companies which would allow them to operate online gambling websites from within Japan, and the government prevent its citizens from accessing foreign gambling websites. Online gambling in Japan, similar to other Asian countries, is a huge legal grey area. There are laws banning most types of physical gambling in Japan, as mentioned in Chapter 23 of the Japanese Penal Code, but internet or online gambling in Japan generally remain unchallenged by the government and there are also no public records or major cases found where people have been prosecuted or punished for betting, wagering or playing casino games online. Japan has a limitation to lottery, soccer toto and betting on four selected games. Only parimutuel betting is allowed. The Japanese government does not grant licenses to operate online gambling websites in the country, and it would like to keep Japanese gaming players from accessing and using foreign internet gambling websites as well. There is no distinction between the law applicable between B2B operations and B2C operations in online gambling.

The fact that there are some online gambling websites which are hosted in other countries target Japanese gaming players and create problems and make it difficult for the government to take control over what is going on because they have no jurisdiction in the places where the sites are located. Online gaming players of Japan can use these sites freely.

Laws related to online gambling

There are no specific regulations or laws under Japanese law for the advertising of online gaming services. However, there are certain soft laws, such as the 2004 Guidelines on Advertising on the Internet issued by the Japan Internet Advertising Association. According to the Guidelines, members must refrain from agreeing to advertise online gambling services offered by offshore online gaming operators to consumers residing in Japan even though the gaming operator may be lawfully licensed under the laws of its own country. This is because Japanese residents who subscribe to online betting may be in breach of Article 185 or 186 of the Penal Code.

Russia

Online gambling is completely banned in Russia except interactive gambling such as simulators of slots machines, casino games and card games. Transfers of interactive bets are licensed by the Central Bank of Russia. Russia isn’t a gambling-friendly nation. Legislation passed in 2006 banned online gambling while legislation passed in 2009 banned all forms of gambling across the nation except in four designated zones. It doesn’t appear that this is likely to change any time in the near future. The strict anti-gambling laws make it clear that you are breaking the law if you choose to gamble online. A very debatable topic is whether poker falls under this law, due to the argument that it’s a game of skill rather than a game of chance, but casino games and sports betting certainly do. Domestic operators are strictly prohibited from offering online gambling services and internet service providers are required to block gambling sites operated overseas. Internet Services Providers who do not ban access to unauthorized online gambling sites can be fined for up to RUB 100,000. The Federal Service for Supervision in Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) has composed or compiled up a blocklist of hundreds of gambling sites that must be blocked by all service providers. Almost every single gambling site is on the blacklist that internet service providers (ISP) have to block. The Russian government also maintain a record of blacklisted websites that all ISPs are required to block.

Prior to 2006, major international gambling sites were easily accessible to Russians. There were even companies based out of Russia that offered their services to citizens. That all changed in 2006 when Russian laws to ban internet gaming came and restricted access to casino sites and poker sites. The biggest issue is finding a way about the ISP blacklist. As we mentioned above, the blacklist is thorough and updated regularly. A 2012 Russian Supreme Court famous ruling shows just how serious the country is about eliminating gambling. In that case, it was found it is illegal to even provide information about gambling, the court stated that “no trace of gambling should remain on the web”.

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