This week, a Delhi court which received an request from an internet start-up company founded by alumni from the Indian Institute of Technology, asking for the court’s opinion on the legality of an online ‘games of skill’ venture it intended to launch, ruled that online sports betting and games of skill involving money are deemed illegal in India.
The Delhi District Court Judge Ina Malhotra added that such games may not enjoy any protection under the constitution, confirming that "Sports betting is an offence in India and bookies earning money from bets laid on games of skill cannot be granted protection under Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution (right to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation)."
Furthemore, the court specified that banks could refuse to provide normal services to websites offering any form of wagering or betting. It added: "So, while betting or playing for money among players on a game of golf, chess, bridge or billiards may be permitted, they cannot be considered legal if operated by a gaming house."
This dashes the hopes of the young alumni, who wanted to go live with a website offering chess, billiards, rummy, poker, snooker and bridge - all being "games of skill", but their idea doesn’t seem to go well with the authorities from which they decided to seek legal opinion.