Online Gambling

Internet Casinos Inc. (ICI), the world’s first online casino, started operating from August 18, 1995, with 18 different games. Since then more than 1,400 websites, mostly domiciled in small Caribbean islands, have given rise to an industry that grosses over $3 billion a year. In fact no business on the Internet earns more revenue than online gambling. Out of the estimated 14.5 million online gamblers, almost 30 per cent are from Asia.

A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with a credit card can set up an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them free to place bets on sporting events like Wimbledon, cricket, horse racing and Formula One, or join a virtual casino to play slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker etc. Companies like Flutter and Betmart accept bets on anything from who is going to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range from a nickel to thousands of dollars and according to whether you win or lose the amount is automatically adjusted to your account. The final balance can then either be mailed to you or left for future bets.

The law relating to online gambling in India needs to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. At the outset, gambling, although not absolutely prohibited in India, does not receive express encouragement by policy makers. The Indian organized gambling industry is estimated to be worth around US$8 billion. While stringent laws have checked the proliferation of casinos and high street gaming centres as in many other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains the most post popular form of gambling.

Though gambling is not illegal, it is a highly controlled and regulated activity. Modern India is a quasi-federal Constitutional democracy and the powers to legislate are distributed at the federal as well as the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, this implies that the state governments have the authority to enact laws in order to regulate gambling in the respective states. Thus, there is no single law governing gambling in the entire country. Different states have different laws governing gambling in addition to the laws that have an application across the country. While some states have banned lotteries, other states allow state government lotteries marketed and distributed in other lottery playing and promoting states through private entities.

Regulation of gambling

The courts have defined gambling as ‘the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize’. The dominant element of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A game may be deemed to be gambling if the element of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. As a result, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and a few card games are not gambling. The right to undertake the business of gambling and lotteries is not considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It may however be pointed out that the state government run lotteries make significant contributions to the state exchequer of several state governments and the Union government, and hence there is a resistance to complete prohibition.

The following legislation is pertinent to gambling:

The Public Gaming Act, 1867

This Act provides punishment for public gambling and for keeping of a ‘common gaming house’. This Act also authorises the state governments to enact laws to regulate public gambling in their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended in accordance with their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not have any direct impact on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house so as to include virtual forums as well.

The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)

The ICA is a codified umbrella legislation that governs all commercial contracts in India. Under the ICA, a wagering contract is the one which cannot be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, and no suit shall be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager or entrusted to any person to abide by the result of any game or other uncertain event on which any wager is made’. Gambling, lottery and prize games have held to be wagering contracts and thus void and unenforceable. While a wagering contract is not illegal, it cannot be enforced in a court of law. Thus, the courts will not entertain any cause of action that arises out of a wagering contract.

Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998

This Act provides a framework for organizing lotteries in the country. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to promote as well as prohibit lotteries within their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner in which the lotteries are to be conducted and prescribes punishment in case of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by the state have been made an offence under the Indian Penal Code. Several non-lottery playing states, like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, have prohibited the sale of other state-government lotteries under this Act.

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 294A deals with keeping lottery office. It says that whoever keeps any office or place for the purpose of drawing any lottery not being a State lottery or a lottery authorised by the State Government, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

And whoever publishes any proposal to pay any sum, or to deliver any goods, or to do or forbear doing anything for the benefit of any person, on any event or contingency relative or applicable to the drawing of any ticket, lot, number or figure in any such lottery, shall be punished with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.

Internet gambling

The law related to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts and it is not possible to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.

As pointed out earlier, the online lottery is the most popular form of internet gambling in India. Most companies marketing and distributing or conducting state government-sponsored lotteries through the internet are not allowed to sell their services in the states that banned lotteries. In most cases, these marketers and distributors limit their online services to consumers who are residents of the states where a lottery is permissible. Notwithstanding the fact there has been no reported case of breach by any company promoting online lotteries, most of these companies (as a safeguard) seek an undertaking from their consumers relating to their residence.

There have been instances where one state has banned the lottery of other states, including online lotteries. In a recent case, the Karnatka High Court upheld the decision of the Karnataka government to make itself a ‘lottery free zone’ by imposing a ban on lotteries of all other states, including online lotteries under the Lotteries (Regulation) Act 1998. The state government, in this case, directed the closure of the terminals and kiosks selling the online lotteries.

Enforcement over foreign jurisdictions

If the websites are hosted and operated from outside India, it may be difficult for the Indian authorities to issue any directive to close them down or prohibit their access without using its blocking powers under the ITA. The authorities have little to worry about, as Indian foreign exchange laws do not permit remittances outside India for gambling related activity, such as the purchase of lottery tickets, football pools and sweepstakes. As a result, a gambling website hosted outside India aiming at receiving money from within India cannot do so through legal channels.

Conclusion

Online gambling remains a highly regulated sector with seemingly limited horizons to grow. While the present regulatory framework makes it difficult for offshore gambling websites to target customers in India, the India-based companies can only distribute and market state-government lotteries online in permitted territories. The pervasive authority with the government to block gambling related websites and the impossibility of enforcing gambling-related contracts further discourage the prospects for the industry.

Why Your Business Needs An Internet Marketing Strategy To Stay Ahead

There are specific marketing strategies that apply uniquely to Internet marketing. If you do not use Internet marketing strategies for your business, your website will not get traffic, you will not attract new clients and your business will fall behind your competition.

One of the stumbling blocks impeding most local businesses from implementing an internet marketing strategy is that they simply have no idea what needs to be done. Online marketing is so new and such unfamiliar territory for most business owners that they don’t know where to start. They spend so much time running their business, taking care of their clients and managing their staff that they don’t have the time to learn something new.

Ask yourself a few questions:

• What are long-tailed keywords?

• What is keyword density?

• What is Web 2.0?

• How do you set up an autoresponder?

• How do you change the tags on your website?

• How do you create videos and audios for your website?

If you are like most business owners, you can’t answer these questions. That is absolutely normal. You have spent time focusing on other aspects of your business, ones that you do indeed master. But now you need to learn more! Finally, the time has come for the average local business owner to discover exactly what needs to be done in order to effectively put an online marketing plan in place for his or her business.

Business Has Changed.

Today, local business owners are in a hungry market. They need more work. They need to attract more clients. They need to adapt to the changing economy. However, the market is changing, or more specifically, how to reach that market is changing. Understanding the change and meeting the challenges of it are essential to survival of businesses.

In the recent past it was normal for a business to spend several thousands per year on directories like the Golden Pages / Yellow Pages. Now businesses find that this sort of advertising simply doesn’t work any more, it simply costs more than it brings in.

Today’s savvy business owner realises the Internet is the future. Worldwide, more than 2.6 billion searches for local businesses are performed online every month. This number grows by more than 50% each year. In fact, 80% of people search online before they make a purchase. They now prefer this type of search Golden Pages / Yellow Pages or the newspaper. Therefore business owners need to be online in an effective way, and have an effective internet marketing strategy to stay ahead.

Why Do You Need an Online Marketing Strategy to Be Successful?

Are you a business owner using the internet? If you are then you must understand why it is vital to have a marketing strategy online in order to get to the success you have always dreamed of.

When your business is online the only way for people to find you is for you to market that business. Traffic is the key to being successful online with any business.

That is the main reason that a marketing strategy online is so vital to your business. If people can’t find your website then they can’t spend their money with you.

You want to make money right? Of course you do and that is another reason why a advertising strategy is so imperative.

When you don’t market your business online you will not make any money. That is why you have to have an effective strategy that will bring traffic to your business so you can make that money.

You want to take the time to do your research and learn about one effective marketing strategy at a time. There are many different strategies that can be used and you definitely want to use more than one of them.

You just want to remember that it is important to learn them one at a time so you can put them into action before adding another one. That way you have one strategy working to bring traffic to your site while learning another one.

Do this until you have 5 to 7 different strategies working at all times to bring you traffic. Here are a few tactics you want to take time to learn and use for promoting any business on the internet.

Article marketing

Social networks

Blogging

Forum marketing

PPC or Pay Per Click

There are so many others that can be used also and you can even combine them to get the most traffic. Many successful internet marketers use both paid and free advertising to drive high traffic numbers and make more sales.

For example, you can add article marketing and blogging together to get the most traffic. You could also do pay per click advertising and SEO your keywords in new web pages or blog posts.

The thing to remember is that a marketing strategy is the only way you can be successful with any business. Don’t forget this and not build your own promotion strategy because this is the sure way that you can fail with any internet business.

A good online marketing strategy is the key to finding the success you have always wanted. Without it, you will always struggle to build a business that won’t be going anywhere.