Are online casino games legal in India?
Cyber Crime/Online Fraud

Are online casino games legal in India?

Casino websites on the internet have been around for a while. They enable casino enthusiasts from around the world to enjoy their preferred games. More importantly, they work in several jurisdictions and take care of each client individually.

 

One of their best features is that the majority of them are compatible with mobile devices, allowing players to play their favorite games while on the go. On websites Indian players may locate both seasoned online casinos and up-and-coming ones that are trying to establish themselves. For a while now, the situation in India has been changing. The nation has strong regulations regarding both online gambling and gaming in general.

Indian Scenario

India's laws are quite complicated, which is one of their drawbacks. Online sports betting is prohibited in several states, but it is not expressly prohibited by federal laws. A rut existed in the gambling environment for some time. In some states, it was legal to play at casinos, but not at online gambling sites. By 2022, Goa, Daman, and Sikkim were the only Indian states to have legalized online gambling due to advancements in legislation and the passage of new laws.

 

A lottery that accepts all Indian players is also permitted by the state of Sikkim. Indians must rely on foreign corporations to supply them with online casino games because they are unable to create their own online casino brand. Additionally, any business or operator that chooses to run in one of these states must provide Rupees as a payment option. Therefore, Indians can play at online casinos in the aforementioned states, but only on those sites that are provided by offshore operators.

 

In India, there are various specific gambling regulations. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 is the most significant of these. Operating a public gambling establishment or allowing gambling in any public area are both prohibited under this law. This law continues to apply to all types of gaming, including online gambling. In theory, you ought to be able to do this without facing any legal repercussions. However, if you are found gambling online, you can face legal action under the Public Gambling Act.

 

The Information Technology Act of 2000 is a further regulation that you should be aware of. The use of the internet for gambling is now illegal as a result of this law. Therefore, if you are detected gambling online, you could face legal consequences.

 

International operators manage reputable online casinos with presences in India, including 10Cric, LeoVegas, Casumo, ComeOn!, and PureWin. Law in India does not apply to them. It is technically outside of India when players gamble real money on them. That such casinos must accept payments in Indian Rupees may be their only legal requirement.

The legality of Online Casino Games

Less is known about the legality of online casino games. Although there is no explicit rule that forbids them, if you are found gambling online you may face legal action under the Public Gambling Act. One of the most well-liked online games in India is poker. Poker, which is regarded as a game of skill, is not particularly covered by Indian gambling regulations.

 

You need to be able to play poker online without worrying about the law as a result. However, if you are detected playing poker online, you can face legal action under the Public Gambling Act. Fantasy sports are permitted in India because they aren't viewed as gambling. Additionally, skill-based games like online poker are permitted in India.

What to check while playing online casino in India

You must keep a few things in mind if you choose to play online in India.

  • Use only reputable and trusted gambling websites

You want to avoid becoming involved in one of the many scams that are out there. Therefore, be sure only to use trustworthy and trusted gambling sites. Use the websites where you can access payment options. Online casinos have more information about the Best Payment Methods.

 

  • Read the Laws

As explained, if you are caught playing online poker, you can face legal action under the Public Gambling Act. As a result, before you start gambling online, you must be aware of the regulations in India governing gaming.

 

  • Avoid using your personal information carelessly.

You have to give personal information when you play online poker. To only respectable and trusted websites, be careful to submit this information.

 

  • Play responsibly.

While gambling can be fun, it can also become addicting. So always play responsibly and never stake more than you can afford to lose.

Conclusion

The legitimacy of online casinos in India is still a matter of some debate. Several laws in India deal with gambling, but none of them directly include internet casinos. This implies that, in theory, there shouldn't be any legal repercussions for engaging in the online casinos. However, if you are found gambling online, you can face legal action under the Public Gambling Act. Therefore, if you choose to bet online in India, be careful only to utilize reputed, trustworthy gambling sites, be aware of the rules, and exercise caution when providing personal information.

Tax Exemptions for Startups Explained: Eligibility and Incentives
Startup

Tax Exemptions for Startups Explained: Eligibility and Incentives

The Government of India launched the Startup Scheme with the primary objectives of fostering new business ventures, generating jobs, and generating income. The network of interactions between individuals, groups, and their surroundings is often covered by this startup ecosystem. These connections not only boost the current companies but also aid to develop new ones that have the potential to become successful businesses.

 

However, businesses that receive a Startup Recognition Certificate from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) are entitled to various benefits, the biggest of which are tax exemption and incentives.

 

Shri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, unveiled some ambitious plans to improve the startup ecosystem in his nation. The PM mentioned the Startup India initiative while promoting the startup philosophy. The initiative is designed to meet the needs of struggling business owners and motivate them to operate in a more practical way. Notably, new startup tax advantages and exemptions were covered in a separate section of the Budget 2016. The government wants to stimulate the economy by supporting technological advancements and consumer-focused enterprises.

What is a Start-up?

The Startup India action plan defines a "startup" as an individual entity that must be registered with the Government of India (no earlier than 5 years) and has an annual turnover of less than 25 crores in any financial year. It will operate in the field of development and create products for the benefit of society using innovation and technology.

Eligibility Requirements for Indian Startups

For Indian startups, there are a few requirements for qualifying that will guarantee the best possible level of cooperation with the Indian government. The startup must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible:

  • Funded by a business incubator which is funded by the GOI and works on any Government project

  • Recommended and Certified with the help of a proper format provided by SIPP (Startups Intellectual Property Protection)

  • Funded by investors that are registered with SEBI. some prominent investors are Angel network, Private equity fund, Incubation fund

  • Funded by GOI for promotion on any innovative technology

  • Patent granted via Indian Patent and Trademark from the respective regional office

  • A spitted or reconstructed business shall not be considered as a startup company

Tax exemption and incentives

Only startups who qualify for the Startup India program are granted tax exemptions:

Income tax exemption for a period of 3 consecutive years - The Startups that are formed after April 2016 are entitled for a tax rebate of up to 100% on the profits they produce for a period of three consecutive years in a block of & years under section 80 IAC of the Income Tax Act after receiving approval for tax exemption. It should be emphasized that such an entity must not have exceeded the 25 crores in turnover in any one financial year.

 

Tax exemption on capital gains - Startups are exempt from taxation under Section 54EE of the Income Tax Act. This exemption relates to the tax on long-term capital gain and is applicable if any LTCG is realized and if all or a portion of that LTCG is invested in a fund that has been approved by the Central Government within six months of the asset's transfer date. If these two requirements are not met, the authority may revoke the exemption. The maximum investment amount in such an asset is Rs. 50 lakhs, and that amount must stay invested for a continuous period of 3 years.

 

Tax exemption on investments above fair market value - The government has exempted eligible start-ups from paying the tax on investments that exceed fair market value. Such investments may be made by a variety of parties, including angel investors, venture capitalists, friends and family, incubators, and others who invest money over fair market value.

 

Tax exemption to individual/HUF on investment of long-term capital gain in equity shares of eligible startups U/S 54GB - According to Section 54GB of the Income Tax Act, the government permits an exemption from taxation on long-term capital gains resulting from the sale of any residential property, provided that the gains are invested in MSME businesses as defined by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Act of 2006 as well as qualifying startups. As a result, if an individual or HUF sells a residential property and uses the capital gains to purchase 50% or more of the equity shares of eligible startups, long-term capital gains tax will not apply as long as the shares are not sold or transferred within five years of the date of acquisition or purchase.

 

Set off carry forward losses and capital gains allowed in case of a change in shareholding pattern - Losses can be set off and carried forward only in relation to qualified startups where the shareholders have held those shares from the final day of the year in which the loss occurred to the final day of the year in which the loss is to be carried forward.

Conclusion

The government hopes to create a better ecosystem for new businesses and entrepreneurship with these tax exemptions for Startup India. The three-year tax exemption has sparked some interest, so Indian businesspeople should not really worry about the future and should feel free to take market risks. The government will offer all forms of assistance and support to startups that meet the aforementioned eligibility requirements.

Legal Compliances Checklist for Startups in India
Startup

Legal Compliances Checklist for Startups in India

The growth of start-ups in India has been impressive over the past years, making the Indian ecosystem conducive to them. The government of India announced an initiative – Start Up India - with regard to the same, which aimed at focussing on simplification and handling, funding support and incentives, and industry-academia partnership and incubation. The Nasscom Tech Start-up Report 2020–21 states that India has 38 unicorn companies or businesses valued at more than $1 billion. The start-ups in the Indian ecosystem have to meet with the set compliances to establish themselves. Out of this, there are certain legal requirements that start-ups are bound to comply with. These compliances are discussed below briefly:

 

  1. Identification of business organisation structure: When starting a business, one should create a separate legal entity under which they will operate. It is the most important item on the legal checklist for start-ups in India.  Private Limited Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships, One Person Companies, Sole Proprietorship Firms, and Partnership Firms are the six main legal entities recognised in India. A start-up can opt for any according to the business structure it wants to establish.

  2. Registration: The two most crucial considerations for registering a start-up are as follows:  The start-up must be incorporated before registering with the "Start-up India Program," which is the second step. A start-up's incorporation includes obtaining a Directory Identity Number and a Digital Signature Certificate. By enrolling online, you can receive this recognition from the Department for Promotion and Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). The platform aims to encourage innovation in the nation by giving businesses access to a range of financial incentives and advantages like tax exemptions.

  3. Obtaining Licences: It's crucial to understand that these licences are necessary for businesses to function lawfully and that they must be obtained. Every business organisation has different compliances to make. A business may be subject to legal penalties, fines, or other consequences if it fails to secure the licences necessary to operate in its industry. For example, a restaurant business will want a Certificate of Environmental Clearance, a Food Security Licence, and a Prevention of Food Adulteration Act Certificate, while an e-commerce start-up will require service tax and VAT registration.

  4. Company Law Compliances: Meetings with board members, filling out crucial documents, auditing data, and producing reports are all things that a registered company must adhere to. They can be listed as:

  • Annual-General Meeting

  • Board Meetings

  • Appointment of Auditor

  • Director’s Report

  • Maintenance of statutory registers

  • Circulation of Financial Statement

  1. Taxation Compliances: The two types of taxes are taxes, both direct (Income Tax) and indirect (GST, Excise duty, Customs duty, etc.) In India, taxes are imposed according to nature and company operations. Here are several tax benefits provided to start-ups for their efficient growth while they are still in their nascent stage.

  • Three-year tax holiday in a block of seven years

  • Exemption from tax on long-term capital gains

  • Tax exemptions on investments above the fair market value

  • Tax exemptions to individual/HUF on LTCG from equity shareholding

  • GST based compliance

  1. IPR Compliances: Start-ups place a high value on originality, creativity, and uniqueness as the foundation of their success. They establish a company with the intention of introducing the world to a brand-new good, service, or method. Protecting the intellectual property rights necessary for growing their firm is vital for entrepreneurs. 

Start-ups have a number of options for safeguarding these assets, including non-disclosure agreements, copyrights, trademarks, and patents.

  1. Labour Law Compliances: Start-ups must abide by the labour laws that come with opening a real firm. Rules like the Minimum Wage, Maternity Leave, or Protection Against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, these laws are designed to shield employees from the possible exploitation of their employers. Additionally, they serve as a tool for holding both parties responsible for their conduct.

  2. Event-based compliances: Some are related to particular occasions or industries, such as compliance with FEMA for start-ups with FDI or Customs law for businesses who import or export. When a start-up deals with potentially hazardous goods or processes, environmental law clearance is required, whereas when it interacts with real estate, RERA approval and other compliance with property laws are required. Mergers and acquisitions or large transactions that would significantly harm competition in India would require clearance under the Competition Law.

  3. Contractual Obligations: Every business has agreements in place with various parties who play a role in how the firm operates, such as clients, workers, or vendors, through contracts.

 

Any organisation must adhere to its regulatory requirements; the first step to ensure smooth operation is to comprehend and follow the applicable laws. To start a firm, every beginning entrepreneur must be familiar with all applicable regulations. One of the best ways to ensure that the business is always safe and avoids legal issues and implications is to hire an expert legal counsel who can advise, supervise, and maintain legal records.

Real Money Gaming in India Explained
Others

Real Money Gaming in India Explained

Real Money Gaming is any wagering activity in any format, including pari-mutuel wagering in any format, skill-based games, or any other wagering activity conducted over any medium (including ground/offline, smartphone, or online world), that gives a player participating in such wagering activity the chance to win payment in the manner of money or any other form. Real-Money Gaming (RMG) is a business structure where users play games for real money with the hope of winning more than they initially invested. The game operator generates income by charging users a network fee and a flat commission based on how much they bet in each game. This approach is successful because it does not rely on in-game marketing for revenue, which is more cyclical in character and loses value with time in other games.

Everyone is placing large bets on this gaming niche as the gaming industry grows, including gaming corporations, advertising, A&M agencies, and industry analysts. According to Shivanandan Pare, Executive Director & CEO of Gaussian Networks, skill-based games like "Poker" are becoming more popular because they have a decent chance of generating some revenue. It does really form a part of a larger ecosystem. He says, "Globally, gaming has already surpassed the combined size of the film and music industries. I believe that if the age of streaming sites was 2010–2020, then the age of gaming would be 2020–2030. 

 

ISSUES

Although it appears positive to the general public, the industry faces numerous difficulties. The most frequent one is the conflict over the label of "gambling." RMG is sometimes confused with "Gambling," which has the stigma of being the most heinous of all the socially pervasive vices. Although the "game of skill" defence is the industry's well-known fact and legal defence, it is not just a front that the business is trying to utilise to provide the appearance of legitimacy. Using one's talent is similar to using one's intellect and aptitude, whether it be at job, in a sport, or just in daily life, to advance and experience success. So why should it not be a respectable activity, and why should the reputation of gambling hound this company or the player if they can put their cash where their mouth is? In contrast to the internet gaming industry, horse racing betting is largely recognised as a skill-based activity and rarely attracts negative attention. However, the basic idea is the same. 

While talent, drive, and tenacity are all important factors that influence a player's performance, we must admit that the one vice (that most of us fall prey to in some form or another in life) offers an immediate threat to the player is greed. The "addiction/habit building" and risks mentioned in the ASCI mandatory disclaimers refer to this, as a player who begins chasing losses may end up harming both the ecology and himself.

 

SAFETY

Data demonstrates the contrary, despite the fact that this is a well-known aspect of the business—every organisation has one—and the prevalent theme used to denigrate the sector. On the majority of these operators, 98% of the teams play "for entertainment" and "within their means," while the remaining 2% will continue to be difficult to deal with. Since the survival of this company depends on both the provider and the player exercising restraint, the industry is aware of and prioritises player safety. Bear this in view, the majority of the major operators have made significant advancements toward "responsible gambling." To make things simple, the provider monitors the player's activities and establishes daily and monthly financial restrictions.

When it comes to "trust" and "bots," RMG operators go above and beyond to protect the user by using "Random Number Generation" (RNG) algorithms that have been independently audited by a third party as a standard tool for ensuring procedural fairness of cards. They also have highly sophisticated machine learning-based "anti-fraud" engines that guarantee high game dignity and player safety from intra-player colluding. All participants have their KYC validated, and the sector is transitioning to "video KYC," which will confirm the end user's identity and age. 

Online gambling for real money is a well-regulated sector on a global scale. Regulations are in place in several nations, such as England, States, and Europe, to make sure that gamers engage in this sort of entertainment appropriately. India may become a global player in this business and improve player protection by enforcing strong regulations and receiving backing from the national government.

 

After the PMO rejected a proposal to exclusively oversee games of skill and exclude games of chance, India's proposed regulation of internet gambling would cover all real-money games. The planned restrictions are expected to influence the direction of India's gaming industry. In an August report, the government group proposed that new regulations must be inclusive of some "de-addiction measures" like deposit and withdrawal limitations and regular warnings and cautions.

Defamation law in India Explained
Any other Legal Issue

Defamation law in India Explained

An individual's reputation is damaged when untrue comments about them are spread, according to the dictionary definition of defamation. Defamation is the purposeful, intentional publication or utterance of a false and untrue remark with the intention of damaging another person's reputation. A person's reputation is considered his property, and any harm to it is illegal. It might be spoken or written. Libel refers to defamatory written or typed information or images, whereas slander refers to defamatory spoken language. Roman law and Dutch law both have a long tradition of addressing defamation. In Roman law, abusive chanting was punished by death. In ancient English and German law, the punishment for insults was to have the tongue chopped out. Only the imputing of criminal activity, social sickness, or casting doubt on one's professional capacity comprised slander in England at the ending of the 18th century. Allegations of unchastity became unlawful after the Slander of Women Act was passed. Defamation laws in France were fairly strict. Ostentatious retractions of libellous material from newspapers were harshly punished, and the only valid defence when the publication included public figures was the truth. In Italy, defamation is illegal and is rarely justified by the facts.

 

LEGISLATION AND CASES

The Constitution's Article 19 guarantees its people a number of liberties. Nevertheless, the reasonable restriction to Article 19(1)(a) has been established by Article 19(2). Among the limitations include contempt of court, defamation, and instigation to commit a crime. In India, defamation is a civil offence that can result in damages awards and a criminal offence carrying a prison sentence. 

The criminal law on defamation is codified in the IPC, 1860, although defamation is punished as a civil offence per tort law. Section 499 provides a definition of defamation, and Section 500 provides details on the penalty. Any verbal, written, or visual comment for another individual intended to harm their reputation is considered a defamatory act. If something is spoken about a deceased person and would be considered defamatory if the person were still living, then the remark may be considered defamatory. The group of people must include businesses or organisations. Unless the allegedly defamatory statement reduces the speaker's moral or intellectual integrity and the esteem for his class or profession in the eyes of people, it is not a defamatory remark. The actions of anyone commenting on a public performance or discussing any public concern are examples of exceptions and any representation of truth necessary for the public's good. 

Libel is the primary use of defamation in civil law. The statement being publicised against the person harms his standing in society. The assertions must be untrue and made without the permission of the putative victim of defamation. The defendant may be held liable for financial damages for defamation. For a defamation lawsuit to succeed, there are specific prerequisites. A person may be prosecuted to compensate the injured party for damages if the conditions below are satisfied: 

  • It has to be a disparaging remark.  

  • The comment must be about the plaintiff. 

  • A published remark of this nature is required.

There have also been some very prominent judgements on defamation, and one of them is the Subramanian Swamy  Versus Union Of India. According to the Supreme Court’s judgement in this case, the right to free speech is "a highly prized principle under the Constitution." Applying the idea of reasonable limitations, it was determined that "the right to freedom of expression is not unlimited, despite the broad and inclusive scope of freedom of speech. It is susceptible to the imposing of justifiable limitations. According to the court, a person's reputation is a crucial component of their right to life as guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. "One's reputation cannot be sacrificed on the shrine of another's right to free speech. The court declared its support for tolerance of critique, disagreement, and incongruence but declared that it had no room for libellous attack.

CONCLUSION

Everyone can benefit from having a good reputation. Such an asset can be lawfully repaired if it is damaged. Laws against defamation have been put in place to stop people from utilising their right to free speech and expression for malevolent purposes. To its credit, Indian law does not distinguish between libel and slander. Otherwise, there might have been opportunities to commit defamation and break the rule that nothing should be published in writing. A person cannot be defamed with the aim of harming them, and intentional acts of defamation are also punishable by jail. The right to free speech and expression is reasonably limited by defamation law, which is likewise constitutional. If the actions taken to fall under the listed exceptions, it is not defamation. There have been many defamation cases over the years, and the court has carefully examined each one of them. These cases now serve as standards.

CAN FACEBOOK POST OR TWEET ATTRACT CRIMINAL LIABILITY?
Cyber Crime/Online Fraud

CAN FACEBOOK POST OR TWEET ATTRACT CRIMINAL LIABILITY?

Previously reserved for a select few, the ability to publish is now a right available to everyone with access to the internet and something to say. The world has seen a significant transformation as a result of the advancement of technology. Through numerous social networking sites, the Internet has significantly simplified many tasks for all of us. Everything has been easier for all of us, including communication and information access. However, these resources could occasionally be abused as well. Defamation has emerged as a topic of concern due to the ease with which users can publish and distribute material through these social media platforms. The possibility of "Cyber Defamation" has increased with the popularity of so-called trends such as publishing, uploading, or commenting on information or images on specific social networking sites. The act of publishing a false remark about a person online with the potential to harm or damage their reputation is known as "cyber defamation." Although the publishing industry's influence may have been widely disseminated, not everyone is aware that they are subject to the same regulations and limitations as conventional publishing houses and media companies. When it relates to the risks of defamation, social media platforms, which have been crucial in enabling the average person to write, are not unlike newspapers, periodicals, or books. Defamation is a civil and criminal offence in India, and as a result, the Indian judicial system offers victims of defamation legal recourse. 

 

LEGISLATION AND CASES

Although this conduct can be committed in both the physical and digital worlds using different mediums, the law of defamation still applies. In India, the following may be held accountable for cyber defamation: 

  •  On the creator of offensive content posted online; 

  • On the service corporate or a middleman. However, it is important to remember that under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, an intermediate is not held accountable if it only serves as a mediator and does not create or change such defamatory content. Additionally, this protection is contingent upon the mediator abiding by the central government's obligations for intermediate due care and intermediate guidelines and removing any unlawful content after receiving notification from the relevant government or its agency.

 

In India's first case on cyber-defamation, SMC Pneumatics (India) Pvt. Ltd. v. Jogesh Kwatra, in which an angry employee sent profane, disrespectful, and defamatory email messages to the company's affiliates worldwide and to its coworkers with the intent to discredit the company and its managing director, the High Court of Delhi conferred an ex-parte ad interim injunction prohibiting the defendant from disparaging the plaintiff in cyber world. Now, Suhel Seth, a marketing expert and media figure, was recently sued by ITC for his remarks on the Twitter website, which serves as an example. A Bangalore court has been requested to order him to pay the company Rs 200 crore in compensation after the company accused him of defamation. Seth has said he did nothing wrong. 

 

The fundamental guidelines for publishing are quite straightforward, but adhering to them consistently requires discipline: validate facts, don't offend anyone specifically, and don't misrepresent. According to Sajan Poovayya, general partner at the Bangalore-based law firm, which focuses in online litigation and has customers like Google and the Wikimedia Foundation, the effects of defamation harm for users of social media may be considerably worse than in conventional media. In conventional media, the writer, editors, and publication house share responsibility for defamation, but the author is solely liable in social media. As social media users rise, businesses are creating specialised teams to monitor comments on websites like Facebook and Twitter. These teams also address unfavourable client complaints. Companies frequently refer severe unfavourable remarks to their legal departments. While rules of conduct by businesses and social media sites might be helpful, according to cyber law expert Dugall, users still need to act responsibly. "A law may serve as a warning, but it cannot, in the end, prohibit." 

 

CONCLUSION

Users of social media cannot use ignorance of Defamation of Character statutes as an excuse. Game guidelines: Check the facts. Avoid distortion. Avoid being disrespectful.  Users of social media will be held accountable, not Facebook or Twitter.  Corporations are monitoring social media platforms, so individuals risk legal issues if they make a mistake. Offenders are subject to fines and up to three years in prison. Some of the criminal penalties are outlined in the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act. The IT Act's Section 6 outlines the penalties for posting or spreading pornographic material online. There is a discussion of up to three years in prison and penalties. If he commits the same offence a second time, he faces a fine and a sentence of up to five years in prison. While there are statutes in place that forbid posting such material online, most people are either unaware of these regulations or are too careless to determine whether the material they are uploading is defamatory. Sometimes it is necessary for the State to set limits on free speech when it conflicts with a person's reputation, lest that freedom of expression ends up in the hands of some people as a weapon. A system that instructs and informs individuals about what is appropriate and inappropriate, wrong and right, and defamatory and non-defamatory behaviour in cyberspace is desperately needed. In order to prevent a repeat in the future, the intermediaries that provide such an open forum should also keep an eye on the content posted there and take necessary action against those who post such defamatory content.