Anti-Gambling Campaigners File Petition To End Online Gambling In India
Avinash Mehrotra, a noted activist has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court. It is his aim to force the Union Ministry of Information Technology and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take steps to stop illegal online betting. In his PIL, Mehrotra pointed out that the threat of online gambling is becoming worse with each passing month and is ruining the lives of Indian citizens.
Mehrotra states that in the last couple of years a number of online gambling websites have entered the country and they encourage gambling and lure players to spend money on various games of chance. He pointed out that both domestic and international gambling websites are now offering their services to the Indian market.
He has specifically referred to Betway, BetRally India, 1xBet and Royal Panda while referring to Adda52, PokerStars.in and Khelo365 as domestic websites. Besides causing a big jump in online gambling, the PIL states these websites are causing gambling addiction in the country because they can be easily accessed. There is also an additional concern about the rise of fantasy sports websites in India.
The main thrust of the petition is that while games of skill might be exempted from the ban of the Public Gambling Act and state laws, card games are more like games of chance because of their dependence on chance. The PIL wants the courts to ban all forms of online gambling and sports betting in the country.
Money Laundering And Tax Evasion Accusations
The PIL does not stop with accusations of gambling addiction and violations of gaming regulations. It also alleges that large amounts of money have been converted to foreign currencies and have been used to bet on online gaming sites. This would result in a loss of foreign currency which is a violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act and rules.
Taxes are also supposedly not being appropriately deducted, both from winnings and from online casino revenues. This could also be construed as a violation of the Income Tax Act with tax revenue being lost.
Mehrotra is pushing for the Union Ministry of Information Technology to ban online gambling and to have the RBI limit the movement of money by online gambling sites. The PIL will be heard May 29, 2019 by the Delhi High Court with Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anup Bhambhani presiding