Is Betting Legal in India
With so many online bookmakers focusing on the Indian markets, it has left some people confused and wondering whether betting is legal or not. This in-depth article contains everything that there is to know about the state of legal betting in India.
Overview of Betting Laws in India
Based on the extensive research we have done, we can say that betting or gambling is neither legal nor illegal in India. Though there have been recent changes in the gambling law, it does not state clearly if Indian-based punters can bet or play online casino games. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 only prohibits casinos and public gambling, but nothing is mentioned about online betting or gambling. This has given offshore online betting companies the gap to explore the Asian market, especially India.
As a fact, statistics published by the International Center for Sports Security (ICSS) revealed that the betting industry in India is worth more than 130 billion dollars. The bookmakers offer everything ranging from popular sports to online casino games and poker, as well as secure payment options.
However, the confusion about online betting is not in all states of India. The states of Sikkim and Goa provide licenses and regulate all forms of online betting. This has increased its annual revenue compared to other states.
Legal Gambling in the Individual States
As earlier mentioned, each state in India has different laws governing betting. As of now, the lottery is legal in 13 states while brick and mortar betting is legalized in two states. Let’s have a look at the betting laws in each state:
Gambling in Goa
It was not until 1999 that Goa legalized land-based casino gaming. This move was taken to boost the tourism and revenue of the state. Today, you can either bet at land-based platforms or floating casinos. The State and Central Governments works together to ensure that there is transparent and fair gaming at all time. The changes in the law saw the minimum age for betting in Goa raised to 21.
Gambling in Sikkim
Legal betting started in Sikkim back in 2009, making the first state to offer onshore land-based casino gambling. Unlike Goa where offshore gambling is legal in floating vessels, this state allows both on-shore and land-based live gambling. The legalization of betting has increased the state revenue income, created jobs and improved tourist attraction in Sikkim state.
Other states where betting and gambling has been legalized in India are Daman (hosts the biggest onshore casino in the country) and Nagaland where fantasy games are offered to players. In the state of Maharashtra, horse race betting and lotteries are legal but online betting or gambling is considered a criminal offense.
Latest Betting and Gambling Acts in India
The latest advancement in technology has compelled the government of India to make some changes in their betting acts. In this section, we take a look at some of the major federal laws regarding betting in India:
The Public Gambling Act of 1867
According to this Act, it is illegal to host public gambling venues or visiting one. Anyone found running a gambling venue risks a fine of 200 INR or up to 3 months in prison. Also, visiting gambling houses has a penalty of 100 rupees or 1 month in prison. The downside of this Act is that it does not fit in the modern technology-controlled world.
The Prize Competition Law
The Prize Laws in India comprises of the Prize Competitions Act, 1955 and Prize Competition Rules, 1959. Under these laws, skill-based competitions such as crosswords and puzzles have been highlighted have been limited the top prize to 1000 rupees per month. However, these new laws don’t seem to say anything related to betting or gambling in India.
The Information and Technology Act of 2000
The need to enhance cybersecurity on online platforms is what lead to the making of the Information Technology Act of 2000. Although gambling or betting has not been mentioned in the Act, it states that the government has the right to block any website with the help of the Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Payment and Settlement System Act of 2007
The government of India gave the Reserve Bank the power to regulate online payment options with the Payment and Settlement Act of 2007. The Act also allows the RBI to make new policies regarding payment options at any given time.
Legal Sports and Games in India
Even though betting is not legal in India as per se, you will not be persecuted for betting or playing your favorite casino games on a foreign platform. However, it is essential to understand that Rummy games and Horse Race betting are legal while poker and cricket are not. The legal sports and games available in India are controlled by State Governments and Central Governments. While these bodies have no power to issue licenses to operators, they determine what sports or games are to be offered in the states. This part covers all the legal sports and games in India betting market.
Cricket is a popular skill-based game, and many Indians are attracted to it because of the competitive odds they offer. As a fact, stats show that more than 50 million US dollars have been spent on the India Premier League (IPL). This among other factors have forced the government to think of legalizing betting on cricket.
Although Horse Racing is among the few sports you can bet on it India, it is not legalized in India. Only Eight states in India have legalized horse race betting so far. These include West Bengal, Meghalaya, Delhi, and others. India hosts different types of races, including The Indian 1000, the Indian Derby, Bangalore Derby, and many others.
The State government has the power to allow betting on the lottery in India, thanks to the Central Lotteries Act of 1998. However, the lotteries draw are limited to one per week. It is the work of the State government to appoint distributors and sellers of lotteries.
Since most casino games are chance-based, they have been categorized under betting and gambling and are hence considered illegal in India. The good news is that some states like Goa, Daman, and Diu have laws to regulate casino gaming. For instance, the State of Sikkim issues a license that allows operators to offer popular casino games like blackjack and roulette.
Indians love betting on Poker. This game is available in several states in India, including the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Sikkim and West Bangal. The fact that poker requires skills to play is what has made the Prize Competition and Gambling Act of 1957 legalize it across many states. However, the tune changes when it comes to online poker and Real Money Games.
Live casino is one of the latest trends in the world online gambling. Indian players can access leading offshore casinos and bet on popular live dealer games, even if it is not legal. Some of the games that are offered at these casinos include live Blackjack, Live Roulette, Live Baccarat, Live Poker, and many others.
Accepted Payment Options in India
When sourcing for a good Indian betting site, it is crucial to consider the available transaction options and the accepted currencies. Does the betting site accept rupees? You will find some platforms which accept e-wallets like skrill, Neteller and PayPal while others use credit and debit cards like Visa, Mastercard, and Visa Electron. It is recommended to check the time frames for depositing and withdrawals before you start transacting.
Top International Bookmakers Used by Indians
Our list consists of the best online bookmakers where Indian-based punters can bet on popular sports events and unique casino games. They have been tested and certified by professional experts to ensure that they meet international standards. These betting platforms have been selected based on the following aspects:
- Range and quality of games offered
- Size of bonuses and promotions
- The software powering the website
- Supported payment options
- Security, licensing and fair gaming
- Availability of customer support
The following are the most reputable betting sites available for Indian-based punters:
The Future of Legal Betting in India
There is light at the end of the tunnel for India-based punters as the Law Commission of India (LCI) is pushing for the legalization of online betting and gambling. If by luck the process is successful, online betting is expected to boost the country’s economy by a big margin. Many political leaders have proposed bills that will enable regulation of betting and other forms of online gambling. This will put India ahead of other already established countries in matters related to betting. There is hope for bettors to be liberated in India.