Chhattisgarh Governor approves new law to ban online gambling, skill games exempted

Published on:

The Chhattisgarh Gambling (Prohibition) Bill, 2023 which was passed by the assembly in January 2023 received assent of the Governor on 15th March, 2023 after a delay of more than two months. This makes the bill an enactment having force of the law from the date of its publication in the official gazette on 23rd March, 2023.

The Act mainly passed to curb the proliferation of online betting apps like Mahadev Book in the state, provides strict punishment of up to 5 years and making offences cognisable and non-bailable.

Providing bank accounts for the purpose of facilitating online gambling or advertising online games of chance have been specifically made an offence. Similarly using false identity is also made an offence under this law.

Importantly, games of skill, i.e. outcome of those games that are predominantly determined by the knowledge, training, expertise and experience of the participant have been exempted from the ambit of the new gambling law. States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka have enacted blanket ban laws which couldn’t withstand judicial scrutiny. The skill games include poker, rummy, and fantasy sports are not impacted by this law.

Advertising of games where chance prevails over skill will now attract three years imprisonment.

While online gambling and its abetment will lead to an imprisonment of between one year to three years and also attract a fine of between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh for a first-time offence. For subsequent offences, an accused will face imprisonment from two years to seven years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.

One of the most notorious gambling apps ‘Mahadev book’ is operated by natives from the state who now are based outside India. The police have arrested several people in recent times but could not stop the menace of offshore gambling portals, prompting the state government to enact a fresh law.

With this enactment, 150+ year old Public Gambling Act, 1867 is no longer applicable in Chattisgarh.