Gambling has existed in India for a longer time than most people think. Gambling history is written in one of the famous Indian books, Ramayana, making most people believe it from 7300 BC despite being referred to date 430 BC. Ramayana describes chess games and gambling with dice for both gambling boards.
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The gambling board in India is called Aksa, but other references know it as devana. You might have heard gamblers saying, “I have lost my shirt” in gambling houses or casinos. This is an ancient saying to show a defeated gambler compared to a tree stripped of its fruit. The gambling attitude in Ramayana is different, and people talk of it casually but not forbidden nor condoned or taboo.
In one of the most famous Sanskrit in India, Shakuni cheated Yudhishthira in a dice game to gain the kingdom and wealth. Afterward, he gambled his wife and brother into servitude. Later, another dice game was demanded when the dispute grew strong.
India’s early gambling devices
Indians used to gamble with nuts obtained from the Vibhitaka tree during the old age, according to most Buddhist texts in early 300 BC. After some time, astragali replaced the long-used dice, resulting in an interesting game: Passa. In addition to dice games in gambling, Indians started to gamble on animals.
Gambling started with ram fights; then it progressed to cockfights. As time progressed, horse racing became part of gambling that brought joy to many Indians. According to history, Indians gamble blindly, not knowing tomorrow will arrive. Hindu hymns and scripts warned against this.
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The development of gambling houses across India began to increase by the time boom was ripe in the 15th century. The local ordinance heavily controlled gambling houses to ensure order, and everybody got fair play and won. However, it was not regulated to benefit the player but to make them submit their dues willingly to the king. This is another evidence of what Indians started: gambling tax.
European laws and influence on Indian gambling
Despite India having a major role to play in ancient gambling history, European influence took over. In the early 17th century, cricket became so popular, and it was high time to be included as a betting sport option. The British brought horses to India in the 18th century to introduce horse racing.
As gambling grew very fast and out of control, the government introduced a public gambling Act (1867) that made operating a gambling house illegal. After that year, the introduced Act had few modifications and changes like Paplu that declared Rummy legal. However, despite the fact that part of the gambling law is hard and strange, gambling is still illegal in India to date.
Today’s gambling laws in India
Since the first gambling laws were set in India, there has not been a dramatic change in the nation. Most people see gambling as a sin or taboo. Federal law reflects this sentiment. The 7 union and 29 Indian states have been given the discretion and authority to decide individually whether to make gambling legal or not in the respective states.
Therefore, every state has its legislative council and the government has the mandate to draft any law concerning different subjects. Most states in India see gambling as a sin and illegal, but still, they allow other forms of gambling like horse riding, where people can place bets.
The Public Gambling Act introduced in 1867, 155 years now, is still effective. This law states that it is illegal to hold or run a gambling house regardless of who you are. If anyone is found guilty of violating the norms, he will pay a fine or serve in prison for a set period. The Public Gambling Act has a clause that states the penalties of a person visiting illegal gambling houses.
This Act is applied across India but states like Sikkim or Maharashtra allow gambling in casinos. Goa is the most gambling-friendly state in India.
Sports betting, especially cricket, is illegal in India. In 2016, the Supreme Court mandated an examination of the best way of curbing illegal gambling in India. The Law Commission of India, in 2018, said that it is impossible to stop illegal betting, but it can regulate them.
However, with the growth in technology and internet penetration in India, many people can access most services online, gambling being one of them. Therefore, more people will suffer from gambling-related issues since they can gamble online.
Responsible gambling involves having best gambling practices and rules supported and regulated by gaming organizations and national gaming authorities. The main aim is to establish a favorable environment for gambling and protect gamblers.
Responsible gambling is for gambling organizations and players. The betting organization should offer fair games and a safe environment, while players need to know the danger of gambling and the addiction that comes with it.