Issue III

1. Game of Skill vs Game of Chance – A Debate

By Priya Sharma & Nayana KB

From National Law University, Odisha

Gambling, as an activity, has been prohibited in various Hindu scriptures or at least allowed under regulation only. It has been described as a vice; an activity prophesied to cause the downfall of a person. The British-era law, Public Gaming Act of 1867, is the governing act for gambling activities in India, being adopted by various states with amendments. Currently, the ambiguous status of the legality of such activities in India has left room for much debate and discourse. States allow games of skill but prohibit games of chance. Some prohibit both, while some allow both. Therefore, proper regulation and the governing mechanism are required to deal with gambling, betting, and fantasy sports. This paper discusses various cases, legislation, and regulatory instruments currently in operation in India and the inadequacy that remains. Firstly, definitions of ‘games of chance’ and ‘games of skill’ will be discussed and compared, and their general legality will be elaborated upon. Thereafter, the paper discusses the history of gambling, ranging from cases and precedents from the United States of America to the legislation currently in effect in India. The question of legality in different states will be elucidated. Further, the paper talks about online and offline gambling and related judicial precedents in India. Thereafter, the paper will detail the issue of fantasy sports and their legality in India, discussing issues such as that of Dream11. The question of morality will be explored too. Lastly, the paper attempts to conclude the urgent need for regulation and control over the gaming industry, exploring all the shortcomings in the system and the current options available to the government.

2. Political Bypassing of Fundamental Duties

By Adv. Shishira Pathak

If there are rights available to a citizen then he must owe some duties too that he must perform for promoting unity and integrity of the nation. Fundamental Rights are given in The Constitution Of India under articles 12-35, which grant rights to the citizens of India like the right to equality (Article 14-18), the Right to freedom (Articles 19-22), right against exploitation (Articles 23-24), right to freedom of religion (Articles 25-28), Cultural and educational rights (Articles 29-30), right to constitutional remedies (Article 32), etc. These rights are included in the constitution because they are considered essential for the development of individual personality. Fundamental rights are given in part iii of the Constitution of India. Fundamental rights are justiciable which means a person can move to courts for their enforcement in case of their violation.

3. Taxation in Online Fantasy Sports – An Indian Perspective

By Manvee & Ananya Gauri Agarwal

From Chanakya National Law University, Patna

Fantasy sports is a kind of online multiplayer gaming platform, that allows people to make imaginary teams consisting of the representation of real players such as that in hockey, cricket, kabbadi, etc. This area of sports entered the Indian market in 2001 via ESPN Star Sports, though had been around since 1952, first introduced in the US. Now, by the year 2019, this sport has already reached 90 million players, and from the current statistics, India can be seen as the biggest market for fantasy sports. Though the legality of the game has been doubted, on the basis of whether it is a “game of chance” or “a game of skill.” If the fantasy sports platform is a “game of chance,” it is regulated by state regulations related to gambling. It can be seen in the recent Supreme Court judgment, by a bench of Just. Rohinton Nariman and Just. B.R.Gavai has held that the fantasy sports platform, Dream 11, is a “game of skill and not chance,” with due respect to the intricacies of the gaming platform. Hence, fantasy sports may be legal or illegal based on the state laws in place. Seeing as how this industry is booming and thriving, the market that it is generating has huge potential. The taxation rules, for online gaming, enforce the tax collection to be split into two parts – One to be paid by the individual winning the amount in the game and the other to be paid by the company providing the gaming platform. The individual’s taxes are governed under Section 194B and 115BB of the Income-tax Act and the taxes paid by the gaming platform provider are governed by Section 15 of the Central GST Act and Rule 31A(3) of the GST rules. This type of online gambling differs from other actionable claims and hence should be taxed separately. In this paper, we will discuss how much tax these platforms should be paying under the current taxation rules that apply to fantasy sports and if they differ based on “game of chance” or “a game of skill” criteria.