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Legal & Regulatory

Delhi HC PIL on banning online betting & poker websites adjourned to 28th November

A division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar adjourned the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Avinash Mehrotra to 28th November, 2019, while directing the central government to file its reply and Mehrotra to file a rejoinder to the centre’s reply.

Mehrotra’s counsels contended in court today that several games of chance are being conducted illegally in the country, and large amount of money is even going abroad through offshore gambling and betting websites.

Additional Solicitor General of India Maninder Kaur Acharya representing the central government, contended that gambling and betting is a state subject and the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi should be made a party to the case, for the matter to be maintainable.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which was also a respondent in the case, also indicated in court that it wanted to file its response, while a formal intervention application was also filed by the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), stating that online game of skill websites operating out of India should not be banned.

The court, however did not, for the moment, accept AIGF’s application to get impleaded as a party in the case and kept the matter pending until the next hearing of 28th November.

As reported exclusively by Glaws in May 2019, social activist Avinash Mehtrotra had filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court alleging that several online gaming and betting websites are encouraging the country’s working population to part with their hard earned money on games of chance such as poker, teenpatti, sports betting, election betting etc.

He sought blocking of offshore online betting websites such as Betrally, Bet365 and Betway as well as domestic Indian poker websites such as Adda52 and PokerStars.in as well as asked for a probe against the websites for tax evasion and money-laundering.

On 30th May, the court while declining to grant interim relief of blocking of the websites temporarily, had issued notice to the central government and RBI, asking them to respond to the PIL by 31st July.

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Gaming Legal & Regulatory

Andhra may follow Telangana in banning online rummy

The Andhra Pradesh government may bring a new legislation to ban online rummy and gaming in the forthcoming session of the legislative assembly, as per reports in the local press last week.

According to the reports, State Minister for Tourism, Culture and Youth Advancement, Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao alias Avanthi Srinivas raised the issue of online rummy and gaming spoiling the lives of many educated as well as unemployed youth and demanded a ban on online rummy, at a conference of District Collectors and Superintendents of Police in the presence of Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

As per local press reports, after Srinivas raised the issue, the Chief Minister immediately asked Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang for an explanation. It is learnt, that Sawang stated that online rummy websites cannot be blocked due to absence of proper laws governing it.

Reddy is immediately said to have reacted to the assertion by stating that the state government will introduce a new legislation to ban online rummy in the legislative assembly of the state. The newly elected Chief Minister also instructed the police heads of every district to strictly stop all illegal activities, including card rooms and rummy clubs operating in the state.

In 2017, Telangana had become the first state in the country to pass a law to ban all kinds of online games played for real money or stakes, including games of skill such as rummy.

Several online rummy companies had immediately challenged the state government’s ordinance (and subsequent Amendment Act) in the High Court. However, the hearings in the court have not seen much progress in the last two years and the rummy companies have failed to get any substantive relief so far.

Last year, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu had also spoken about the focus, coordination of mind and skill involved in card games while warning about the harmful effects of such games, including the possibility of addiction.

It remains to be seen whether Chief Minister Reddy actually introduces a new legislation to ban online rummy in the winter session of the legislative assembly and whether such a legislation, like Telangana, would include a ban on all games of skill played for stakes.

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Gaming

Man vs. technology – Which way will the cards fall for the Indian online gambling market?

A blast from the past to understand the value of casino & sports betting regulation

LeoVegas Casino & Sports is a Swedish online gambling operator founded in 2012. Now, seven years later they have finally opened the doors for Swedish players. Since the start LeoVegas main market have always been Sweden and in 2017 they spent $35 million in advertisement to attract Swedish customers.

So how does it come the doors have finally been opened for Swedish players?

LeoVegas has been operating in a legal grey zone up until the regulation of the Swedish gambling market the 1st of January 2019. They, together with 100 other Swedish casino operators, have made use of a legal glitch which allows casinos based outside of Sweden to target players inside the borders.

Prior to the regulation, all operators hosted their real money games from the gambling friendly island Malta. A tiny, progressive island which also is a member of The Commonwealth but have decided to take an open approach to online gambling, cryptocurrency, cannabis and Artificial Intelligence – compared to some other of its’ members.

Malta’s goal is to stand in the forefront for digital and technological debated topics. The island, which is a part of the European Union since 2003, quickly realized the value of attracting foreign investment. The benefits of taxing companies inside the country on gambling activities performed abroad became a gold mine. Taxation from online casinos and sportsbooks accounted for 12% of the GDP in 2018.

Now, when Sweden has regulated its own market, Malta can wave goodbye to their tax income on Swedish players.

How deceptive marketing methods are used for short wins

There is much India can learn from this. India is standing in front of either battling 1000’s years of betting culture, or follow a recipe which has successfully been working in many other countries.

We can already see clear traces of how modern technology is running in circles around the outdated betting laws. 

Indian Facebook users have over the past few months seen a sponsored Facebook article flooding the newsfeed. The article says the CEO of LeoVegas, Peter Newsted, was fired due to a loophole in a promotions terms & conditions.

This was something many Indian betting- and gambling-guide portals picked up. They debunked the fake news article and managed to prove there’s nobody at LeoVegas named Peter Newsted.

The sole reason behind the fake news article was to attract Indian casino players with a deceptive promotion by lying about the mistake.

LeoVegas accept Indian players at their website, but they are not actively doing any type of promotions towards India. If a player comes to their website, they are welcome, but there’s no pursuing of the customers as of today.

Since the Indian online gambling market is a “wild wild west” LeoVegas cannot take any legal rights towards the fake news articles.

If the market was regulated, the situation would have ended very differently.

It’s not only about the money

When you are regulating a market, it is not all about the tax money or controlling your partners marketing initiatives. No, the foremost purpose is supervising the health of the players. A regulated market is a safe and sustainable market for the online punters.

Sweden, who are known for their bullet-proof welfare system, did not go easy on responsible gambling and self-exclusion once the regulation went into force. All casino operators must obey by some of the strictest guidelines for responsible gambling. During the first week of regulation 10 000 players self-excluded themselves from a central system, so they will never be able to place bets again. Not on any form of online gambling site in Sweden. None. Never.

The other day the Swedish online casino Ninja lost its license to operate in Sweden, since they had not fulfilled the criteria for responsible gambling. A tough blow for a company which relies 95% of its revenue on the given market.

What can Indian online casinos & sports books learn from this?

Unfortunately, not too much, since the local operators are not invited to the party.

As of today there’s a long list of websites hosted abroad which accepts bets in INR, LeoVegas being one of them. The economical mathematics are easy to calculate, and it does not benefit the Indian tax system nor employment opportunities. All the bets are wagered and taxed outside of the borders.

Malta stands as a happy chap though.

However, this also means all valuable player data on behavior is stored abroad. Data which can be used to enhance the experience for the users. Lacking this valuable data means the Indian casino’s and sportsbooks will fall short on product knowledge, which will further push the market advantage for the international gambling operators.

What will happened within the legal field in India is still unclear. What is not unclear is the fact that international casinos will continue to pursue their economic dreams within our borders. What we will do about it is entirely up to us.

Disclaimer: This article is a sponsored post and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the authors of this website. Readers may treat this as an advertorial. 

Read more about online gambling in India.

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Gaming

Goa CM says casinos important for tourism, defends inclusion of casinos in official tourism video

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant defended the inclusion of casinos in the state government’s official tourism promotion video.

Sawant while interacting with the local press after attending a tourism department meeting stated, “In the present circumstance, tourists are coming to visit casinos as well. Keeping in mind that Goa is a tourist place and with regards to the tourism sector, we need to promote every activity, which brings interest to tourists and also helps the development of the State,” he said. 

He also spoke about government’s plan to aggressively promote the hinterland, cultural, religious and medical tourism, citing the need for quality tourists to Goa.

The Chief Minister added that he had never spoke about removing casinos altogether from the state.

Earlier this month, Sawant had said that the proposed Casino Policy and appointment of a Gaming Commission are in the final stages of consideration and will be decided in due course of time.

Related post:
Amidst govt crackdown on Big Daddy casino, Goa CM assures of policy to relocate offshore casinos
New Panaji MLA meets Goa CM, gets assurance on offshore casino relocation

Sawant in his interaction with the media at the time had noted that closure of offshore casinos will send a wrong signal to investors and the issue of casinos cannot be decided arbitrarily, while adding that appropriate amendments to the Goa, Daman and Diu Gambling Act to shift offshore casinos may have to be introduced in the legislative assembly, once the casino policy is finalised.

Read more about offline and online gambling in India.

Categories
Gaming

Amidst govt crackdown on Big Daddy casino, Goa CM assures of policy to relocate offshore casinos

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has told media houses that the proposed Casino Policy and appointment of a Gaming Commission are in the final stages of consideration and will be decided in due course of time.

Sawant in his interaction with the media added that closure of offshore casinos will send a wrong signal to investors and the issue of casinos cannot be decided arbitrarily.

He further stated that once the policy is decided, offshore casinos will be shifted to land and some amendments would have to be done to the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976.

Sawant however refused to give a deadline by which the decision to shift offshore casinos and announcement of a new casino policy would take place, adding that finalisation of details relating to the casino policy may take some time.

Related posts:
Goa CM says casinos important for tourism, defends inclusion of casinos in official tourism video
New Panaji MLA meets Goa CM, gets assurance on offshore casino relocation

In March 2019, Sawant after assuming charge as Chief Minister had stated that he would study the subject of unveiling a new casino policy carefully and revert with his stand in the days to come.

In August 2018, Sawant’s predecessor Manohar Parrikar had announced on the floor of the legislative assembly that the state government would within the next one month, be framing a policy to shift offshore casinos to a designated area on land within the next four years.

Parrikar had also stated that long term licenses of 10-15 years will be granted to casino companies that agree to shift out of River Mandovi.

In the meanwhile, the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) along with newly elected Panaji MLA Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate started a crackdown on Haryana politician Gopal Kanda’s Big Daddy casino as well as other offshore casinos, last week.

CCP officials demolished illegal structures and hoardings put up by the Big Daddy casino on the footpaths of Panaji.

The court of the deputy collector and sub-divisional magistrate has also issued a show-cause notice to the manager of Big Daddy casino over noise pollution caused by its floating generator.

Read more about offline and online casinos in India.

Categories
Gaming

New Panaji MLA meets Goa CM, gets assurance on offshore casino relocation

Newly elected Congress MLA from the Panaji constituency, Atanasio ‘Babush’ Monserrate met Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant yesterday to discuss relocation of offshore casinos from the River Mandovi.

According to news reports, Monserrate stated that Sawant had given him an assurance to move the casinos out of River Mandovi but added that the process may take some time.

“We discussed the casino issue, and Sawant said that he would hold a meeting and sort out the issue. He said it would take a bit of time but talks that talks have started (to remove the casinos from the Mandovi)”, Monserrate is quoted to have told The Times of India after his meeting with the Chief Minister.

Monserrate added that an amendment will be required to be brought to the existing legislation to facilitate the shifting of offshore casinos, stating that such an amendment is likely to be introduced in the legislative assembly during the monsoon session of the house.

The issue of offshore casinos being docked in the River Mandovi generated heated discussion during the Panaji by-elections, which were necessitated due to the death of former Chief Minister and sitting Panaji MLA, Manohar Parrikar.

Monserrate had promised to remove offshore casinos from Mandovi within 100 days of taking oath as MLA, during his campaign.

Former Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had announced on the floor of the legislative assembly last year that offshore casinos would be shifted to a designated area on land within a fixed time span, along with other measures to regulate the casino industry, including appointment of a Gaming Commissioner.

Parrikar’s proposal has not materialised for the past one year and the issue of shifting offshore casinos has been in a limbo ever since the former Chief Minister’s prolonged illness and subsequent demise.

Read more about the offline and online betting and gaming in India.

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Gaming

Bhutan Lottery – Result, Tickets, Prizes and Legal Websites

Bhutan lottery is run by the state of Bhutan. Ministry of finance in Bhutan is responsible for Directorate of lottery in the country. The state-run lottery was initiated in this Himalayan state in the year 1987.

The funds generated from this activity are used to fund various national schemes and activities. It is a great channel for the citizens of Bhutan to contribute to the development activities of the state.

Bhutan Lottery business was dissolved in the year 2011, and Bhutan Lottery Limited, a state owned enterprise, was officially started again on August 8, 2016.

Lottery is a form of gambling. Prizes are announced as per numbers drawn in a lottery. In this article, we discuss:

Related post:
April 13, 2018 – Bhutan Lottery Limited makes Rs. 2 crore profit

Bhutan state lottery – Types, prices and prizes

Official lotteries in the Kingdom of Bhutan are run by Bhutan Lottery Limited (BLL).

In November 2016, Bhutan Lottery Limited (BLL) started the monthly lottery scheme Phuensum Dharim with a ticket price of Nu. 50. It has eight prizes of Nu. 1,000,000, 250,000, 40,000, 20,000, 3,000, 2,000, 1,000, and 500. There are three consolation prizes of Nu. 20,000, 10,000, and 5,000.

In November 2017, BLL started the instant-win lottery Thuensum Scratch with seven prizes–Nu. 500,000, 200,000, 35,000, 5,000, 500, 200, and 60. The cost of a scratch card is Nu. 30.

BLL’s also has a Thuensum Quick Cash lottery. It’s ticket costs Nu.20. Its seven prizes are Nu. 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 2,000, 500, 140, and 40.

Fortnightly Scheme (Phuensum Mid-Dharim) has a ticket prize of Nu.40 per tix. It has six prizes of Nu. 500,000, Nu. 200,000, Nu. 100,000, Nu. 10,000, Nu. 2,000, and Nu. 1,000.

Special RayDrup Bumper has a ticket price of Nu.300 per ticket. It has a first prize of 3,000,000 and the 1st consolation prize of Nu. 30,000. Its second prize is Nu. 1,000,000 with a consolation prize of Nu. 10,000. The 3rd prize is Nu. 500,000 with a consolation prize of Nu. 5,000. The 4th, 5th and 6th prizes in this Bhutan lottery are Nu. 100,000, 30,000 and 2,000, respectively.

Super Saya Bumper Scheme has a ticket price of Nu. 300. This Bhutan lottery jackpot is Nu. 3,000,000. The 1st consolation prize is Nu. 30,000. The 2nd prize and 2nd consolation are Nu. 1,500,000 and Nu. 15,000, respectively. The 3rd prize is Nu. 700,000 and its consolation is Nu. 7,000. The rest of the prizes are Nu. 100,000, 30,000 and 3,000.

Prizes are also distributed to the agents and sellers of the winning bhutan lottery tickets.

Bhutan lottery result

As Bhutan lotteries are run by the central government, the winnings are legal in the state.

You can check bhutan lottery result today by visiting the online platforms run by Bhutan Lottery Limited. The bhutan lottery ticket result are announced on their website and official social media page and in Kuensel, Bhutan’s daily newspaper.

Read on Bhutan Lottery Limited’s official website about how to claim lottery prizes in Bhutan.

Buying Bhutan lottery tickets in India

As per Article 1 of ‘Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between the two nations’ between India and Bhutan, sale of Bhutan lottery tickets in India and the sale of Indian Government or State lottery tickets in Bhutan are legal.

Sale of lotteries is, however, subject to territorial laws, which means that sale of Bhutanese state lottery tickets is legal in any Indian state which conducts its own lotteries and allows sale of lotteries from other states. States in India reserve the right to ban lotteries under the Central Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998.

In India, lotteries are legal in nine states including Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Kerala, besides Bodoland Territorial Council. Some former lottery centres like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have completely banned lotteries.

In 2011, the sale of Bhutanese lotteries were banned in India, after allegations of irregularities and appeals of Kerala state government to the Central government of India.

In 2013, with the winning of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Bhutan general elections, an issue was raised with the Indian government to resume the sale of Bhutanese lotteries in India. Sale of Bhutan lotteries in India can raise up to Rs. 950 crores annually for the Royal Government of Bhutan.

Related posts:
July 25, 2013 – New Bhutanese government to resume lottery business, raise issue of resumption of lotteries with Indian government

November 4, 2010 – Recent Kerala HC decision on lotteries

Foreign websites using Bhutan Lottery brand

There are some foreign lottery websites that operate under the brand of Bhutan Lottery. BLL was to file an appeal with Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA), to seek intervention to block six lottery websites in Bhutan that are using Bhutan Lottery brand.

The websites mentioned in the appeal are bhutanluckylottery.com, bhutanstatelottery.com, lotterybhutan.com, bhutanstatelotteries.com, luckydailybumper.com, and bhutanlottery.in.

Websites like bhutanstatelotteries.com create confusion among Bhutanese buyers who wish to buy state-run lottery tickets, as the draws of these foreign websites often coincide with BLL’s lotteries.

Related post:
May 21, 2013 – Legal & regulatory severely restricts gambling activities in South Asia- studying the regulatory model of South Asian nations

Read more about online gambling and betting in India and nearby countries.

Categories
Gaming

Sourav Ganguly endorses fantasy sports website My11Circle

Former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly has joined online fantasy gaming website My11Circle as its brand ambassador, as per an announcement made by the company.

Promoted by PlayGames 24×7 Pvt. Ltd. (which operates one of the largest online rummy websites RummyCircle and social gaming portal Ultimate Games), My11Circle is one of the recent entrants in the already competitive fantasy sports market.

Commenting on the development, Ganguly noted in a press release, “I am very excited to be part of this fun game, especially because it is about cricket. Makes me feel involved in the game. I think the players on My11Circle will also enjoy the game thoroughly. Waiting for lots of action and lots of fun with players from all over the country,”

Avik Das Kanungo, Brand Head of Play Games24x7 said: “We are very lucky to have Sourav as part of the My11Circle family. This game is about cricketing knowledge, passion and decision making. The app is looking at scaling up their presence with Sourav Ganguly who took Indian cricket to new heights. Every player on our app is like a cricket captain and picks his / her own cricket team and everyone knows that Sourav is the best when it comes to this. I am confident that our players will also look forward to this exciting journey with Sourav on My11Circle.”

Saroj Panigrahi, Business Head My11Circle, said, “As a game of skill, My11Circle connects the cricket fan with a platform where they can exhibit their knowledge and expertise of the game. It is an opportunity for them to become a champion. Our campaign with Sourav Ganguly is true to our brand’s belief of not just celebrating the success of the matches but also about the fans, who together make cricket such an awesome game”.

Ganguly joins other former and current cricketing legends such as MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, VVS Laxman, Jonty Rhodes and Hardik Pandya in endorsing fantasy sports websites.

Launched in January this year, My11Circle states that it intends to change fantasy gaming experience for players by having various features such as live scores and updates and faster cash rewards.

Read more about online gambling and betting in India.