Supreme Court says Kerala can ban online lotteries

The court held that the government was well within its power to ban sales of a certain kind of lottery from other states when it had banned the same kind in its own state

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Kerala government could ban online lotteries under the Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1988.

The court identified the basic question in the case as one being whether the state government could discriminate between paper and online lottery under the provisions of the Act.

A bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, justices R.K. Agrawal and Arun Mishra upheld a 23 May 2006 verdict of a two-judge bench of the Kerala high court that said the April 2005 Kerala government notification making the state an “online, Internet and computerized lotteries-free zone" was valid.

The apex court held that the Kerala government was well within its power to ban sales of a certain kind of lottery from other states when it had banned the same kind in its own state.

Calling gambling a pernicious vice, the judgement made references to ancient texts such as the Rigveda and the Arthashashtra where the activity is condemned.

“Experience has shown that the common forms of gambling are comparatively innocuous when placed in contrast with widespread pestilence of lotteries. The former are confined to a few persons and places, but the latter infests the whole community; it enters every dwelling; it reaches every class; it preys upon the hard earnings of the poor; it plunders the ignorant and the simple," it added.

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