Esports’ growing popularity has caught the eyes of the betting industry. Esports betting involves betting on the best esports players, teams, tournaments or matches, based on individual preferences and predictions. Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO), League of Legends, DOTA 2, Fortnite, Overwatch and Hearthstone are popular choices for esports betting.
Betting is often viewed in a negative light, but that depends on the betting one indulges in. Talking about if esports betting is legal in India, Archana Balasubramanian, Partner at Agama Law Associates, says, “Presently, betting or gambling in esports does not fall under the traditional definition of gambling under the Public Gambling Act, 1867 and is hence, unregulated. Gambling typically applies to games and sports that are speculative. With esports, the playing itself is not speculative. One must remember that the law does not prohibit online gaming. Betting, however, is a different ball game. Esports is often confused with gambling games. But it is important to appreciate the difference.”
“Betting in esports depends on whether it falls within the skill-based or chance-based category; however, it is unregulated. The legality would have to be tested for each betting format/website unless clear regulations are promulgated. Most Indian legal literature focuses on online gambling, which is a very different ball game from esports.”
The acting laws
We asked Archana under the purview of which laws does esports betting categorise. She says, “While the Public Gambling Act, 1867 is the only centrally recognised law related to gambling/gaming activities in India, little or no steps have been taken to codify a regulatory framework governing the operation of esports/online gaming esports betting related businesses in India.”
It is to be noted that currently, legislations like the Public Gambling Act, 1867; IT Sensitive Personal Data Rules; Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002; Information Technology Act, 2000 and The Advertising Standards Council of India cover the areas related to e-gaming but not esports specifically. Betting on India’s betting rule Talking about where India stands in esports betting and if it has a future in the country, Archana says, “Esports betting is gaining massive popularity on various online betting platforms. The regulatory grey areas are presently being exploited by many as there is no prohibition or blanket embargo on esports betting in India as yet. However, it must be remembered that as and when there are legislations in India for esports/regulating betting in esports, the same will be stringent much like the current gambling regulations.”
Read the full story in Gutshot Magazine’s September 2021 e-magazine. Also, read more such interesting stories and interviews of the RMG industry in the magazine. Sign-up once for free lifetime access to all our e-magazines.
Amarylisa Gonsalves is a Content Writer at Gutshot Magazine. Advancing from a marketing background, she found her calling in writing. She takes delight in exploring genres and is a curious learner. Patient and ambivert, she believes in letting her work speak for itself. Apart from content writing, she finds solace in writing poetry by expressing herself through words. Additionally, she adores indulging in anything that satisfies her creative self, like drawing and DIY crafts.
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