Betting In India – The Evolution

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In India, most states prohibit gambling; however, some types, such as horseback riding, are permitted. While betting games are a socially appropriate way to pass the time, certain regulations are imposed for it to be of public health importance. Here is an overview of how gambling in India has changed throughout history.

The Beginning of Gambling in India

Gambling can be defined as wagering or betting for oneself or others, whether for money or otherwise. The outcome is neither predictable nor reliant on chance or skill, regardless of how minor or trivial.

Gambling has been in practice in India for much longer than is usually believed. It is referenced in the Ramayana, which some think dates back to the 7300s BC. However, it was mentioned in 430 BC and is thought to date back as far as 5,000 BC. Both gambling boards (considered by many to be the game of chess) and dice gambling are detailed in the Ramayana.

However, the actual consequences of gambling emerged in the Mahabharata, which is thought to be written around 3200 BC. Shakuni arranged a dice game against Yudhishthira and cheated him out of his wealth and kingdom. Yudhishthira gambled his brothers, himself, and finally his wife into servitude after losing all his money and kingdom. The Pandavas went into 12 years of exile and remained hidden due to their bad fate.

The Mughal Era

Chaupar was a prominent form of gambling in the Mughal emperor Akbar’s court in Agra as well as Fatehpur Sikri. The king himself was a gambler, and on the grounds of his palace in Fatehpur Sikri, he had built up a massive “board” of flagstones on which he and his courtiers played the game using enslaved people as playing pieces.

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Pachisi was another prominent online betting game among the commons; it was called the “poor man’s chaupar.” Instead of stick dice, chaupar was played using cowries, a tiny shell used as currency by impoverished people as late as the early half of the twentieth century. The usage was unofficial, as the government did not authorize it as real money, and the value fluctuated. Illustrations of the pachisi board may be seen across India — in Akbar’s palaces, Rajasthani and Pahari mini paintings, or etched in the stone floor of a Pallava temple at Canjeevaram.

Legal betting enterprises sprang up throughout India by the 15th century. Local ordinances were strictly enforced to ensure that the events were honest and fair. This was done not to safeguard the players but to encourage them to pay their dues to the monarch. Thus, it is somewhat similar to the modern-day gambling tax.

European Influence

Although India had a significant role in early gambling history, European influence eventually took over. Cricket started to gain prominence in the 1720s, and by the end of the century, it had cemented itself as the most preferred game for a sports bet. A match between Madras and Kolkata in 1864 marked the beginning of cricket betting websites in India. In addition, the British brought significant horse competitions to India in the following century.

As betting grew increasingly out of hand, the Public Gambling Act of 1867 was enacted, making operating a gambling establishment illegal. However, Rummy was legalized, and although the laws are complex and difficult to implement, gambling remains illegal in India even now.

The restrictions, however, were just on paper. They did not survive long and could not prevent individuals from participating in wagering; in fact, it got yet more user-centric, and people utilized it in alleyways, streets, neighborhoods, and village meetings. Given the nation’s population, there was a great demand for wagering, and law enforcement had no way to apprehend, control, or enforce the ban.

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Thus, the Europeans had a massive impact on gambling in India.

Current Day Gambling

There has been no significant change in India since the enactment of the first gaming regulations. Most people still consider gambling to be a sin or a taboo.

Speaking of the laws, the Public Gambling Act includes a provision outlining the penalty for visiting illicit gambling establishments. The Act applies across India; however, states such as Sikkim and Maharashtra permit gambling in casinos. Besides, Goa is India’s most gambling-friendly state.

If an individual is caught violating the rules, they may face a Rs. 200 fine or imprisonment for up to three months. But, with the technological advancement and developing internet connectivity in India, individuals now have access to online betting. They are now trying out online gambling because –

  •       There are no federal laws or regulations that prohibit online betting games.
  •       The Internet is available to practically anyone, making it even easier to place bets.
  •       Only a handful of Indian states have prohibited explicit laws on online gambling.
  •       There has been no record of bettors being prosecuted for anything while gambling online.

These reasons make it infinitely easier to place bets without the fear of being penalized.

Conclusion: Being a Responsible Gambler 

Responsible betting is essential for both gaming establishments and players. Therefore, gaming organizations and national gambling authorities endorse and control the best gambling practices and standards. The primary goal is to provide a favorable gaming environment and safeguard players. So, just as fair games and a decent environment are essential, you must also play responsibly and be mindful of the dangers of developing a gambling addiction.

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