Is Betting Legal in India? Gambling Laws and Betting Laws in India – 2021

Is betting legal in India or not

Is betting legal in India? It’s the question on everybody’s lips, especially if you want to have some fun gambling, playing games, or betting on all your favourite sports. So, Is betting legal in India or not? 

You’ve probably read loads of contradictory articles online, some saying that you can easily bet online in India, while others talk about ambiguous gambling laws nobody understands. We get it. We’ve all been there.

We decided to do extensive research on India’s gambling and betting issue, so you don’t have to. We want to offer you a complete guide to gambling, betting websites, casinos, and online casinos in India, and everything you need to know about betting laws in this country.

Are you ready to start digging further into details? Are you prepared to learn about gambling in India and all the laws and regulations surrounding this controversial subject? If the answer to these questions is yes, then start scrolling down.

Sports betting and any other types, for that matter, are a very controversial theme in India. Some people think it’s legal, while some consider it to be illegal all over the country. However, when it comes to these types of subjects, there should be no disputes.

Laws shouldn’t be something people can argue about or have subjective interpretations regarding India’s legal aspects. Unfortunately, Indian gambling laws are some of the most ambiguous laws worldwide, which is why we want to set things clear in this post.

We’ll present you with all the information needed to have a solid opinion and a better perspective regarding the entire Indian gambling laws, rules, regulations, and different jurisdictions that apply, depending on each state.

Yes. Online betting is legal in India, but everything surrounding this domain comes with a catch. You can legally bet online in all states, nor can you bet on any online betting websites or online casinos. Rules and laws vary from state to state.

Online betting in the country is a pretty subjective matter, meaning that each state can decide whether or not betting is allowed or forbidden. This applies to both regular gambling and online gambling as well.

Dealing with traditional forms of gambling, listed under the Indian Public Gambling Act, you are not allowed to partake in any games that involve luck or chance. But this is an ancient law, and it hasn’t been updated in almost 100 years, so you can only imagine that it doesn’t include online gambling.

Even the public act that specifies how gambling can and cannot is unclear, and Indian states have the authority to decide what types of sports betting and online gambling are legal within their region.

According to The Information Technology Act of 2000, the Indian government regulates cyber activities all over the country. Still, it does not mention the word Gambling or Betting anywhere inside its transcript.

The Indian Public Gambling Act is now left for interpretation by the courts that have refused to examine and take a legal stance.

However, some states have taken a stance faster than others. Online gambling is considered a banned offence in Maharashtra under the “Bombay Wager Act.” Other states have other laws prohibiting online gambling, while other regions think it is entirely legal.

But to know, what you are allowed to do based on the state you are trying to gamble online from, you should go over all the legal nooks and crannies below to get the whole picture about online and traditional gambling in India.

Yes. Gambling is legal in India, but it’s not easy to answer this question with a simple yes or no answer. The issue is much more complex regarding Indian laws and regulations on gambling and online gambling.

Gambling in India has different judicial classifications, based on the state you live in or the state you are trying to open an account or gamble from. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 is the central law governing all the gambling activities in India, but, as you can imagine, it’s entirely outdated by 150 years.

This old law prohibits running or owning a public gambling house. However, gambling houses no longer exist today, at least not in the form they were initially referred to back in the day. We’re talking about sports betting agencies, online casinos, or actual life brick-and-mortar casinos in our modern time.

Indian law classifies games into two broad categories to have a better system for punishing offenders. The games can be classified as a game of skill or a game of chance. Based on the category your type of game finds itself in, it can be legal or illegal to play in India.

But like most Indian laws, these classifications are also up to interpretation, meaning that nobody knows exactly which games are considered skill games and which ones are considered chance games, based on the state you are in.

This is just one of the many issues that the Indian government has to solve if they want to clear the air regarding the entire gambling industry growing every day in India and worldwide.

Yes. Casinos are legal in India, but only in some states. Like all the laws and regulations about gambling in India, casinos are legal in some states and regions. There’s no nationwide chain of casinos like the ones you find in other countries, but you can find big casinos based on the state you are in.

For example, Goa, Daman, and Sikkim have made casinos legal in India. But the list will most likely increase along the way, as Indian regulations tend to loosen up with time. 

Goa is one of the first states to legalise casinos, but some everyday gambling activities like organised betting are still illegal. There are also some exceptions when it comes to this law in Goa.

You are allowed to participate in lotteries and horse racing, meaning that you can try your luck at a few games that require no skill whatsoever on the bettor’s part. It’s Goa’s interpretation of what constitutes a game of skill versus a game of luck, making some games legal while others are illegal.

Casinos are beginning to attract more and more fans, and people look at betting, sports betting, and other forms of gambling to have some fun and some (unfortunately) as a way to make a living. 

Some people go gambling to make money, not just for fun and hope that they’ll be lucky enough to win. Authorities are keeping a close eye on this sector escalate into something dangerous, like corruption, crime and money laundering.

All proponents of regulated and legal gambling argue that this industry can be a significant source of income for local activities if implemented correctly. Local authorities can increase their budgets by taxing this industry and getting their share of the pie.

Casinos in Goa alone contributed to the state’s budget with INR 135 crores (approximately $18 million) in 2013, so you can imagine just how much money they can bring in. Following Goa’s example, more states could begin regulating gambling to attract more funds to their budgets. 

Yes. You can easily bet on IPL (Indian Premier League) games, India’s most spectacular cricket league. Although people argue regarding its legality, since the regulations don’t expressly state that you can’t gamble on IPL games, it means that you can.

Of course, you’ll also find many illegal betting organisations where you can place bets on these matches, but it’s illegal. You could quickly lose all your money, not having any guarantee that you’ll get money if your chance is successful.

These clandestine betting houses should be avoided, given that they can “close shop” immediately after they see that you’ve placed a winning bet. They can run away with all the money gambled by people without giving anything in return.

So, when it comes to betting legally on IPL, you can do so, but please only choose renowned online casinos that offer you the best odds for the teams you want to bet on. Don’t go to no-name online casinos or agencies because you most likely can lose all your money or not get paid if you win.

And nobody wants that. Be sure to only bet and gamble in legit and legal establishments in India or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.

Yes. As previously stated, playing in the Lottery is legal in India, but only in some states. The states where getting a lottery ticket is permitted are the forms that don’t consider this gambling a game of chance or the conditions with loose betting and gambling laws.

In most countries around the globe, the Lottery is a nationally organised raffle where all the money goes into the state’s budget. It’s considered a productive, efficient and fun way to raise funds by the state.

It’s also a way to boost morale when the big prize is given away when one lucky winner scores the winning numbers. Unfortunately, in India, the government doesn’t see the idea of holding a national lottery as a good thing, and it is primarily up to each state to organise, legalise, or ban lotteries.

But to make things short, you can participate in the Lottery, but not in all states. So if you’re feeling lucky, go to Goa or one of the other states that organise lotteries and raffles and buy a ticket for yourself. 

Yes. Betting on Rummy is legal in India, but only in the states where Rummy is not considered a game of luck. Most states consider it a game of skill, so you can easily bet on Rummy if gambling is legal in that jurisdiction.

The game of Rummy is top-rated in India, and you can only imagine that when something gains so many practitioners and fans, it will immediately become a gambling topic. The same thing applies to Rummy and people who want to bet on it.

The Supreme Court of India has decided that the game of Rummy is not a game entirely of chance like another popular ‘three-card game mentioned in the Madras case. That case settled gambling issues evolving several games of chance vs games of skill disputes.

What’s the ‘three cards’ game? It’s a game found under different names like ‘flush,’ ‘brag,’ and so on, but this is a game of pure chance. It’s a game of luck, according to The Supreme Court of India. 

But Rummy does not fall into the same category. Since it requires a decent amount of skill, the fall of the cards has to be memorised. In addition to this, the building up of Rummy requires skill in holding and discarding the cards. These arguments stand for Rummy not being a game of pure chance, thus making it legal to bet on certain states.

Rummy is a fun game either way so that it can be played all around the country. Most people bet on it anyway, but they do so behind closed doors. However, this does not make it legal, and you shouldn’t risk betting on Rummy, where it is not allowed.

Yes. Horse betting is legal in India, and it’s one of the country’s most popular activities, and it has a long tradition among Indian people. Along with lotteries, this is one of the most accepted forms of gambling throughout India.

While many forms of gambling are banned or not regulated, people have a lot more freedom on what they can bet on when it comes to horse racing and lotteries. They also have a lot more options in almost all states, with very few exceptions.

Most online casinos that operate in India offer a large variety of horse racing and lotteries for people to choose from. Being in such high demand, you can only imagine that more and more gambling operators will continue to add these services to their betting platforms.

If you’re looking to place a bet on horse racing, India is one country that doesn’t shy away from its love for this sport and this activity. It has a long tradition, dating back to the beginning of the British occupation, and it has been adopted from a very early stage by the Indian people.

Yes. But like all affirmative answers regarding online betting, this one also comes with a small print. You can bet on matches from the Indian Premier League, where some of the most exciting cricket games occur, but only in jurisdictions where gambling is allowed. 

So if betting on cricket’s your thing, you can register from a state that allows gambling, or you can use one of the online casinos that operate legally in India. If they have a gambling license and the Indian government has not imposed bans on a specific online casino, you are free to play and bet on cricket and any other games they offer.

Sports betting is a very controversial topic in India today, and when it comes to cricket, the country’s most popular sport, you can only imagine that things get even trickier. There’s no point in risking your money by gambling in unauthorised places or illegitimate casinos.

Choose the places where you want to bet on cricket carefully to have a pleasant time while watching your favourite teams play. 

State-wise Gambling Laws and Betting Laws in India

India is one of those countries that doesn’t allow gambling on its entire territory. It has several national bans and many regional regulations regarding gambling, but there’s no explicit law that applies to all Indians.

It all depends on the state you are in and the activities you want to gamble on. In some places, you may be allowed to gamble on everything you want, while in others, you may only bet on horse racing or buy lottery tickets. It’s just the way the Indian judicial system is structured on this subject.

States like Goa, Daman, and Sikkim have much looser regulations regarding gambling, sports betting, online gambling, and casinos, which attracts gamblers from all over India.

These states also tend to add more revenue each year into their state budgets, as the money being rolled over in gambling reaches incredible amounts. That’s why the subject’s so controversial, and it divides people into two sides: pro-gambling and anti-gambling.

Why are there different state gambling laws in India?

The Indian government has not passed any national law regarding gambling, and it decided to leave this decision up to every state. While this may be considered a good thing because you let the people decide each state, it can also have a downside.

Many people fear that money laundering could be performed through casinos and sports betting in states where gambling is legalised. While this may be the case in many situations, you can easily keep things under control if you have solid regulatory institutions in place.

In states where gambling is illegal, you deal with more religious and traditional groups of individuals who perceive gambling as foreign and evil. This may also be true, given that most people who gamble have no control over their money, and they wind up losing their life savings.

That’s why we always say that you should play responsibly and never bet more money than you have or more than you are willing to lose.

What is the punishment for sports betting in India?

To legislate gambling laws in India, the government had to enforce different forms of punishment for people who break the rules. So if you’re caught gambling in states where this type of activity is illegal, you could face a hefty fine or even jail time.

This all depends on the amounts of money you are gambling, the types of games you are placing bets on, and the state where you get caught.

Most common punishments for illegal gambling will penalise you with an INR 200 ($2.7) or up to 3 months of imprisonment. The Indian Public Gambling Act also bans visiting gambling houses, and you could face an INR 100 ($1.35) fine or one month of jail time if you get caught in one of these establishments. 

However, you shouldn’t take these punishments lightly, as you never know what judge you may stumble upon in the court of law and what sentence he may give you. Don’t risk your money or your freedom playing in illegitimate places.

Please stay safe and always gamble responsibly in places where it is legal to do so. It’s safer and a lot more fun that way for all parties involved.   

Which betting sites allow you to try betting in India legally?

There are a lot of online betting sites and online casinos where you can bet in India. Most of them are recommended by the Indian Gaming Federation, and you should consider registering, depositing and playing only on online websites that don’t break any Indian laws.

This way, you’ll know that your money is safe from scammers and cybercriminals. You can only lose your money here by placing losing bets, but that’s part of gambling, so you should be aware of this risk up front. 

The best online casinos in India that are not breaking any gambling laws also offer the best sign-up bonuses and weekly promotions for all their players. But before you visit them, remember that gambling can be addictive, and you shouldn’t consider this activity a form of income.

TOP 11 online casinos in India

arcanebet Casino – www.arcanbet.com

This is one of the newest and most spectacular online casinos that allows Indian users to register an account.

Betway – www.betway.com 

One of the most appreciated online casinos by the Indian community with a global presence and substantial welcome bonuses.

22 Bet – www.22bet.com 

This online casino promises its users the time of their lives. They need to sign up, make a deposit, claim their initial bonus and start having fun.

Casumo – www.casumo.com 

Casumo is one of the wackiest online casinos present on the Indian market, and people like their way of doing things.

Pari Match – www.parimatch.com 

One of India’s most established online casinos that are growing in the number of players passing month.

Fun 88 – www.fun88.com

While not as popular as some of its competitors, this casino tries to offer the best value for money on the Indian market.

Comeon – www.comeon.com

Players enjoy this online casino because it is straightforward to use, having a fast registration process, and has a friendly user interface. 

Bet365 – www.bet365.com

Bet365 is one of the world’s most popular online betting brands, and it shows. They have a wide variety of sports betting and casino games to offer.

Rabona – www.rabona.com

Indian enjoy Rabona’s website because they can easily bet on sports or play some casino games, all from the comfort of their homes.  

Leo Vegas – www.leovegas.com

Leo Vegas has a powerful presence in the online gambling community, both in India and globally. Except for the United States, of course.

Melbet – www.melbet.com

One of the most popular casinos on the Indian gambling scene, it still has a lot to grow to reach the key players in this field.

Remember, this article is purely informative, and in no way should you gamble without permission or bet money you don’t have. Gambling should be a fun and entertaining activity, not a way to make a living.

Conclusion

Regarding illegal betting in India, we could go on and on about how different states have different laws, but the most important thing is the essence. Sports betting and gambling are legal in India, but only because the rules are not clear and very well defined.

The Indian government needs to create more clear and precise regulations regarding gambling and online gambling, which will end all the uncertainty surrounding betting in India.

As long as officials will not state that gambling is legal or illegal in India, many websites for betting will pop up online, and some of them will be legit, while others will only try to scam people.

If you’re depositing money on shady platforms, chances are you’ll lose it all either through betting or through cyber attacks. You should only bet if it’s legal in your state or territory and only register an account on worldwide or nationwide renowned gambling websites. Always stay safe and keep in mind that you should never gamble more than you can afford to lose. 

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