Indian State Bihar had raised the Maurya Empire as India’s first empire and Buddhism as world’s fourth largest religion. Less than 15% population of Bihar lives in urban areas which is the lowest in India. But, the 13th-largest state by area and third-largest state by population was considered as a center of learning, culture, and supremacy in ancient times. The mix-language state speaks in Hindi, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi, Bajjika, and Angika.
The state of Bihar had banned some of its lotteries in 1993. Following the states of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Mizoram and Manipur, a ban was introduced by the Chief Minister of Bihar on the sale of all alcoholic beverages in the state. As it was one of the most important sources of revenue generation (Rs. 4,000 crore annually), economists and bureaucrats found it illegal. But the cabinet thinks that legality of alcohol can only increase unlawful gambling, criminal activities, bootlegging, and health hazards due to the sale of illicit liquor. Bihar follows Public Gambling Act of 1867, and Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998; and defines gambling illegal. Driven by the operation of local gambling houses (illegal), many people in this state have been arrested in recent years. However, online gambling is not so frequent till date.
To fill up the fiscal deficit, the state cabinet wanted to start lottery schemes to bridge the fiscal gap. However, the total sale of Kerala lotteries is expected to cross Rs. 6,000 crore and the total sale of Nagaland lotteries is expected to cross Rs. 20 crore in last FY. The government can decide a number of lottery schemes to prevent addiction and craving for lotteries. The Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998 is governed by the central legislation of India. As per this law, a lottery scheme has to be run for a specific socio-economic purpose. It allows a state to run multiple (exceeding 24 per week) lottery schemes.
Mithai panchayat, the oldest panchayat in Madhepura district, had introduced a ban on liquor and gambling in 2013. Village head (mukhiya) Madhumala announced a penalty up to Rs 5000. “We were forced to take this decision as villagers mostly women were frequent victim to cases of the fight among tipplers and also the loss of lives due to drinking. On an average 15 people die each year due to excessive liquor consumption,” she said. She was hailed by Sub-Divisional Police Officer and found the decision in producing positive results.
Should betting and gambling be legalized in India? “What could be the possible model by which people engaging in such activities can be safeguarded against bankruptcy? If legalized, should foreign betting and gambling companies be allowed to have a foothold in the country,” Law Commission has asked. The Law Commission advises the state government to work on complex legal issues if it is helpful in earning substantial revenue, generating employment, and curbing illegal activities across the country. Some of the commission officials find it morally correct in Indian circumstances. Supreme Court had mandated the Law Commission to run a study on the possibility of legalizing betting in India. “While considering the issue, the Commission discerned that gambling is also a subject which is very closely associated with betting. While considering legalization of betting, leaving aside gambling may render the whole exercise futile,” panel chairman Justice B S Chauhan (retired) wrote in his appeal.
Bihar followed Sikkim and Nagaland when it comes to the online gambling. With the two objects of controlling and regulating online gaming through electronic and non-electronic formats, the state of Sikkim had introduced Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008. It has been subsequently enacted and took an initiation to restrict the online games and sports games on August 19, 2015. The cabinet of Nagaland has enacted Nagaland Prohibition of Gaming and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2016.