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India’s lawmakers may alter 150-year-old gambling laws

Sat, Apr 15, 3:02pm by Staff Writer

The Law Commission of India is considering new gambling regulations and given they were written in 1867, it’s probably time they did. The country has a population of 1.2 billion so the potential revenue could lead the government to legalise gambling.

The Public Gambling Act of 1867 is the only law that regulates the activity in India. When it was written, Gambling was a popular pastime and continues to be so today.

The central law prohibits running or overseeing a public gaming house, the penalty for breaking this law is a fine of 200 rupees ($4 AUD) or imprisonment of up to three months.

Additionally, this Act prohibits visiting gambling houses, which carries a fine of 100 rupees ($2 AUD) or imprisonment of up to one month.

Individual state governments have the power to make gambling legal or illegal within their jurisdictions, which they do through state-specific amendments to the 1867 law.

Currently, the only legal forms of gambling in India are lotteries run in some states, horse racing, rummy card games and three casinos.

Rummy card games or “Rummy” as it’s known, is a ‘three card’ game which goes under different names such as ‘flush’ or ‘brag’ and requires a certain amount of skill.

The fall of the cards have to be memorised and the building up of Rummy requires considerable skill in holding and discarding cards.

Lotteries are legal in 12 states and five union territories, but are banned in 17 states.

India has a huge illegal betting market and wagering on sports such as cricket is extremely popular. Should gambling be legalised in the world’s second most populated nation, then we’ll see a huge change to the gambling landscape.

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