Online Gambling

Internet Casinos Inc. (ICI), the world’s first online casino, started operating from August 18, 1995, with 18 different games. Since then more than 1,400 websites, mostly domiciled in small Caribbean islands, have given rise to an industry that grosses over $3 billion a year. In fact no business on the Internet earns more revenue than online gambling. Out of the estimated 14.5 million online gamblers, almost 30 per cent are from Asia.

A bet can be placed in minutes. Anyone with a credit card can set up an offshore currency account with a gambling site, leaving them free to place bets on sporting events like Wimbledon, cricket, horse racing and Formula One, or join a virtual casino to play slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker etc. Companies like Flutter and Betmart accept bets on anything from who is going to win the Nobel Prize to whether Madonna is getting a divorce or not. Bets can range from a nickel to thousands of dollars and according to whether you win or lose the amount is automatically adjusted to your account. The final balance can then either be mailed to you or left for future bets.

The law relating to online gambling in India needs to be understood within the country’s socio-cultural context. At the outset, gambling, although not absolutely prohibited in India, does not receive express encouragement by policy makers. The Indian organized gambling industry is estimated to be worth around US$8 billion. While stringent laws have checked the proliferation of casinos and high street gaming centres as in many other countries, barring the state of Goa, the lottery business remains the most post popular form of gambling.

Though gambling is not illegal, it is a highly controlled and regulated activity. Modern India is a quasi-federal Constitutional democracy and the powers to legislate are distributed at the federal as well as the state levels. Gambling features in List II of the Constitution of India, this implies that the state governments have the authority to enact laws in order to regulate gambling in the respective states. Thus, there is no single law governing gambling in the entire country. Different states have different laws governing gambling in addition to the laws that have an application across the country. While some states have banned lotteries, other states allow state government lotteries marketed and distributed in other lottery playing and promoting states through private entities.

Regulation of gambling

The courts have defined gambling as ‘the payment of a price for a chance to win a prize’. The dominant element of skill or chance shall determine the nature of the game. A game may be deemed to be gambling if the element of chance or luck predominates in deciding its outcome. As a result, Indian courts have held that betting on horse racing and a few card games are not gambling. The right to undertake the business of gambling and lotteries is not considered as a fundamental right protected by the Constitution of India. It may however be pointed out that the state government run lotteries make significant contributions to the state exchequer of several state governments and the Union government, and hence there is a resistance to complete prohibition.

The following legislation is pertinent to gambling:

The Public Gaming Act, 1867

This Act provides punishment for public gambling and for keeping of a ‘common gaming house’. This Act also authorises the state governments to enact laws to regulate public gambling in their respective jurisdictions. The penal legislations in respective states have been amended in accordance with their policy on gambling. However, this legislation does not have any direct impact on online gambling unless a wide interpretation is given to the definition of common gaming house so as to include virtual forums as well.

The Indian Contract Act, 1872 (ICA)

The ICA is a codified umbrella legislation that governs all commercial contracts in India. Under the ICA, a wagering contract is the one which cannot be enforced. The Act lays down; ‘Agreements by way of wager are void, and no suit shall be brought for recovering anything alleged to be won on any wager or entrusted to any person to abide by the result of any game or other uncertain event on which any wager is made’. Gambling, lottery and prize games have held to be wagering contracts and thus void and unenforceable. While a wagering contract is not illegal, it cannot be enforced in a court of law. Thus, the courts will not entertain any cause of action that arises out of a wagering contract.

Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998

This Act provides a framework for organizing lotteries in the country. Under this Act, the state governments have been authorized to promote as well as prohibit lotteries within their territorial jurisdiction. This Act also provides for the manner in which the lotteries are to be conducted and prescribes punishment in case of breach of its provision. Lotteries not authorized by the state have been made an offence under the Indian Penal Code. Several non-lottery playing states, like Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, have prohibited the sale of other state-government lotteries under this Act.

Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 294A deals with keeping lottery office. It says that whoever keeps any office or place for the purpose of drawing any lottery not being a State lottery or a lottery authorised by the State Government, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

And whoever publishes any proposal to pay any sum, or to deliver any goods, or to do or forbear doing anything for the benefit of any person, on any event or contingency relative or applicable to the drawing of any ticket, lot, number or figure in any such lottery, shall be punished with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.

Internet gambling

The law related to gambling is also applicable to online gambling. All gambling contracts are considered to be wagering contracts and it is not possible to enforce such contracts under the ICA, detailed above.

As pointed out earlier, the online lottery is the most popular form of internet gambling in India. Most companies marketing and distributing or conducting state government-sponsored lotteries through the internet are not allowed to sell their services in the states that banned lotteries. In most cases, these marketers and distributors limit their online services to consumers who are residents of the states where a lottery is permissible. Notwithstanding the fact there has been no reported case of breach by any company promoting online lotteries, most of these companies (as a safeguard) seek an undertaking from their consumers relating to their residence.

There have been instances where one state has banned the lottery of other states, including online lotteries. In a recent case, the Karnatka High Court upheld the decision of the Karnataka government to make itself a ‘lottery free zone’ by imposing a ban on lotteries of all other states, including online lotteries under the Lotteries (Regulation) Act 1998. The state government, in this case, directed the closure of the terminals and kiosks selling the online lotteries.

Enforcement over foreign jurisdictions

If the websites are hosted and operated from outside India, it may be difficult for the Indian authorities to issue any directive to close them down or prohibit their access without using its blocking powers under the ITA. The authorities have little to worry about, as Indian foreign exchange laws do not permit remittances outside India for gambling related activity, such as the purchase of lottery tickets, football pools and sweepstakes. As a result, a gambling website hosted outside India aiming at receiving money from within India cannot do so through legal channels.

Conclusion

Online gambling remains a highly regulated sector with seemingly limited horizons to grow. While the present regulatory framework makes it difficult for offshore gambling websites to target customers in India, the India-based companies can only distribute and market state-government lotteries online in permitted territories. The pervasive authority with the government to block gambling related websites and the impossibility of enforcing gambling-related contracts further discourage the prospects for the industry.

Tips to Set-Up Your Own Company As a Foreigner

There’s nothing like setting up an offshore company, but you also need to understand the limitations you have. The primary restriction being the laws in the foreign country, you will need to make sure the support of a legal expert. Though you can read articles and books on the business laws of your desired country, the chances of knowing them all are less.

Law, as you may know, is ever-changing and you can’t really do much about it other than keeping yourself updated with the nitty-gritty. Therefore, you must have a trusted legal partner with you who will work for your interest. Here are a few tips to help you find a good legal expert;

· Review Online Listings of the Lawyers: There are websites that give free reviews of the businesses.

· Ask for Recommendations and Referrals: Speak to your friends and family members who have had recently worked with lawyers. Ask them who they hired, what kind of service they have opted for and where they happy with the services. It is equally important to ask whether they would recommend.

· Make a List of Potential Attorneys: While doing so, jot down the attorney’s name, contact number, address and website address. This way you can organize your search.

· Review Attorney’s Website: Every website usually provides information about each attorney who is working for the firm. It is suggested to check the attorneys’ educational background as well as the work history. Typically, you should seek a lawyer with at least 3 to 5 years of experience in practicing the kind of law you need help with.

· Write out Questions about the Lawyer’s Practice: Generally, you will find the basic information about the lawyers online, say such as; how long she/he has worked and/or where and when she/he went to the law school. But there are certain areas that you will need asking questions; like not every firm states their pricing online as that may vary from one lawyer to another.

Plus you will need to know about the time frame, right? You should ask them a tentative time period for the delivery of work. Similarly, you need to ask about their availability. Ask how quickly the attorney can start working on your assignment and then decide so.

· Bring Documents to the Meeting: If you have fixed a meeting with the lawyer, he/she may ask you to bring the documents. Make sure you have them with you. Show it to the lawyer so that he can have a better understanding of your situation.

Why Your Business Needs Web Video Marketing

Build Your Brand

Plain and simple, video is the most engaging content available creating a multi sensory experience for the viewer. No other advertising medium can trigger an emotional response the way video can. As a result, this makes the greatest impact on your prospects and customers.

Video is also the most effective ways to get your face, voice and brand all over the Internet positioning you as a leader and an expert in your field. When people see you, you become real and this humanizes the experience differentiating you from your competitors by putting a face/voice on your business.

Viewers also get to know you through your videos and if they like and trust you, they will want to do business with you. If you are truly sincere in your desire to help others, your videos will convert like wildfire and unlike traditional forms of advertising your web videos have no expiration date!

What this means is that your videos are out there working for you 24/7, educating your prospects about your product or service even while you sleep.

Web Video is a Growing Mega-Trend

I have three words for you, YouTube, YouTube and YouTube. Why does YouTube matter in social media marketing?

-Over 2 BILLION video views per day (double the prime-time audience of all 3 major US broadcast networks combined)

-Every minute of the day, 24 hours of video content is uploaded to the platform.

-YouTube is also the fastest growing search engine currently ranked #2 in the world only behind Google.

-People go there to look for videos to answer their questions, show them how to do something, or review a product or business.

-YouTube has become more than just a place to park your videos. As a social network, it is a place to build an audience where people subscribe to your channel and come back to watch and learn more about what it is you have to offer.

-Videos are also part of Google’s search engine results which means increased visibility as well as becoming a powerful tool driving traffic back to your website, blog or the site of your choosing.

Engage Your Audience With Content That Provides Value

The first step in creating engaging content is to identify exactly who your audience is. Once you are clear on whom you are targeting, the idea is to create messages that resonate with this audience.

This is your chance to educate the consumer about your product or service focusing on the benefits that your product/service will bring. Keep in mind that consumers are generally looking to solve a problem or address a need while in the research phase prior to making a purchase decision. What you need to do is deliver the solution in order to gain their business.

Your web videos can brand you as an instant expert in your field if you can deliver a compelling message that adds value. By educating the consumer you can improve the quality of their lives. Not only does this include information about what you do, but simple tips or strategies that they can implement as well.

Once you gain a satisfied customer, an engaging and powerful content strategy is to capture a video testimonial that can be shared on your website, blog and/or social media site.

Testimonials are potent forms of social proof. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, so sharing your videos on sites such as Facebook and Twitter become the new “word of mouth.” Users of these sites seek and make recommendations for products and services and share their experiences with friends and followers.

Also, it is important to incorporate a call to action within the web video itself. Viewers need to be told what to do so that may mean visiting your website, picking up the phone to call you or even sharing the video with their friends on the social media sites.

In summary, your web videos can help get you found online, are the most dynamic forms of content that engage your audience and can also be shared in follow up campaigns such as e-mail keeping you fresh in the mind of the consumer.

Local Marketing Guru is a Philadelphia Internet Marketing firm that specializes in helping local businesses establish a complete web presence and dominate their niche online.