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Student Challenges Gambling Law in an India State
- September 8, 2015 By Nemanja L. -
Indian state of Maharashtra has been ordered to clarify its position on casino gaming by the Bombay High Court as it is suspected that the state had passed a casino legislation almost 40 years ago.
The Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Tax) Act 1976 was supposed to allow casinos to operate in the state, but the legal framework somehow went unnoticed for years on end and its existence has only been discovered near the end of 2014.
A Student Discovers Copy of the Act
It was law student Jay Satya who accidentally found a copy of said legislation in the aftermath of his Right to Information appeal. He then requested notification of the Act from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis before hoping to compel the government to implement the 1976 document via a Public Interest Litigation.
The student has accused the Maharashtra government of intentionally keeping the act secret and the Bombay High Court has given the state government one month to respond to these allegations.
It is not that surprising that this story has caught the attention of gaming companies around the globe considering that the state of Maharashtra boasts a population of over 110 million and includes the city of Mumbai.
And with India having over 1.25 billion residents, this is one market that could become very attractive to the world’s largest gaming companies in years to come.
With casinos currently only legal in Goa, Daman and Sikkim, Mumbai residents tend to visit neighbouring Nepal when they feel like playing their favourite casino games and they now have the courtesy of flying directly to Nepal capital Katmandu, with Nepal Airlines having again started flying to Maharashtra after a ten-year absence.
The airline company commercial director Saroj Kasaju admits that they expect to attract plenty of Indian tourists due to the fact that Nepal casinos are again on the rise.
About Casino Gambling in India
It is up to individual states in India to decide whether to allow gambling or not, and, at the moment, gambling is only legal in Goa, Daman and Sikkim. According to Information Technology Act 2000, online gambling is punishable by law, with fines ranging up to €100,000 and five years in prison.
The state of Goe has gone the furthest when it comes to casino establishments as it currently houses ten of these, with six based on land and four floating casinos on the Mandovi River.