The Yogi Adityanath-led government in Uttar Pradesh is likely to bring in a more stringent law on public gaming, reports UNI. Not only has the State Law Commission made the Public Gambling Act (formulated in the British era) more strict, it has also made online gambling and other betting activities non bailable offences.
The commission headed by Justice AN Mittal, having studied the laws of other states and other important decisions of the Supreme Court and High Courts, submitted the draft of the Uttar Pradesh Public Gaming (Prevention) Bill to the chief minister on 15th June i.e Tuesday, fueling speculation that the BJP government will implement its own law for the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The draft has been prepared factoring in two key components: a) speed at which online gambling has scaled in the last decade and b) bookies and illegal gambling operators in the state.
Recommendations by the State Law Commission
The draft contains a recommendation to increase the amount of compensation along with the punishment time. Currently, the provision of gambling acts includes 3 months of imprisonment and Rs 50 as compensation for gambling in public. The commission wants this revised to one year imprisonment and Rs 5000 as compensation. Apart from making online gambling, operating a gambling house and betting as non bailable offences, the commission has suggested to increase the imprisonment time to three years and compensation as per court’s wish.
Legal expert on the subject Jay Sayta says “The Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission recommending a new law for online gambling is an important development for the online gaming industry. If reports are to be believed, the recommendation is significant insofar as it recognizes the legitimacy of skill-based games and exempts online games of skill, whether played for stakes or otherwise from the ambit of the draft legislation, unlike the blanket ban on both skill and chance-based online games imposed by the laws of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
However, for the proposed draft to become law, the state cabinet has to approve the draft and further the Bill has to be passed by both houses of legislature and assented by the Governor. It is not clear when the Bill will be introduced in the legislative assembly. It could be introduced as early as in the upcoming monsoon session of the assembly that may be scheduled in the next couple of months.”
The commission has also proposed in its draft that if betting is occurs in a gambling house or premises, it will be construed that the money recovered is from gambling-related activities and those present are gamblers.
Justice AN Mittal believes that a proper distinction has been made between games of skill and chance in the draft. Hence games skill or games that are talent-driven like rummy will not be punishable. On the other hand, indulging in games like ‘kat patta’ and ‘teen patti’, in which participants have to solely rely on chance, would be considered as a punishable offence once the bill becomes state law.