New Possibilities for Indian Online Gambling

By Debra SaundersGoogle

The Sikkim Online Gambling (Regulation) Bill, a new bill allowing for regulated online gambling in the Sikkim province of India, was recently passed by the Sikkim Legislative Assembly.  The bill is already drawing attention from online casino companies, but it may not actually have the power to truly allow online gambling in the northeastern province.

In early 2011, the federal government of India enacted new Information Technology Rules that, in addition to angering a host of free speech advocates, creates a serious hurdle for online gambling in India.  The law mandates all companies that are involved with e-commerce, websites, or any other online venture to thwart all online activities considered socially unacceptable by the powers that be.  As of now, that includes online gambling.  Casino reviews have reacted pessimistically to the idea that a bill passed in India’s smallest province will have any real impact on the federal reality.

It appears that the Sikkim lawmakers themselves might have been aware that the bill they were passing had no teeth.  Included in the contracts with companies seeking to operate online casinos in the province is a stipulation that states that the Sikkim government is not liable for anything that the Indian federal government might do to stop operation of a casino online. 

On the other hand, the Sikkim lawmakers may in fact me following the American model.  In America, online gambling has been considered illegal since its inception thanks to the 1961 Wire Act.  Nonetheless, local legislation was passed to allow local online gambling.  At the time, the legislation was powerless; however, now that the USDOJ has redefined the parameters of the Wire Act to exclude online gambling, those states are positioned advantageously.

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