Legal Status of Online Gambling in India

online gambling - legal- Taxscan

One of the most popular questions of new players is whether online gambling is legal in the residing country. Asking the question is very relevant and it makes sense to go deeper into it, as the answer is often a bit more complex than just yes or no. In some countries, the answer is relatively easy to comprehend, but in some countries, like in India, the question is a challenging one to answer.

The first law that prohibited gambling was The Public Gambling Act from 1867, stating that gambling is illegal in any place. However, gambling laws have not been updated often ever since that date, and the law does not define what gambling is and, due to the time when it was stated, does not address online gambling at all. In this sense, online gambling is not illegal in India. This is also the main loophole that online gambling sites use in order to operate in the Indian market. Furthermore, as these online gambling operators are not located in India, they operate out of the local law and jurisdiction, thus they do not face legal responsibilities in India. Many casino review sites such as Royalcasino list plenty of casinos & betting sites that accept customers playing in Indian Rupees, even if the casino itself is not based in India.

However, there are some exceptions even within India. The base of whether gambling is considered illegal or not seems to be based on whether the game is a game of chance or game of skill. Due to this India’s top sports horse racing was exempt from the Gambling Act, as betting on horse racing was considered as a skills-based activity. Betting on horse racing is however regulated, thus gamblers looking for variety and better odds would prefer to go to global online gambling websites. But then again, the lottery is legal in some states although it is purely a game of chance. As the legislation related to gambling is based on state-level acts, some states also have different approaches to whether something is considered legal or not. For instance, gambling is legal in Goa, where casinos operate in luxury hotels. Also, gambling has been legal in the state of Sikkim since 2009.

So, is online gambling legal in India? It depends, as the legislation is mainly based on the state’s own laws as well as its interpretations. Local online gambling websites could face shutdown and fine, and it is highly unlikely that anyone would try to open an online casino operating within India. As the legislation has not been updated in years and every state has the right to interpret it in its own ways, it is safe to say that online gambling sites that operate from countries outside India are not to face any charges. Many well established online casinos located in Europe are currently considering whether to enter India and many have already opened online casinos catering Indian market, which is promising news for Indian players. Once the online gambling industry gains more awareness of Indian players´ interests and preferences, the competition will increase and customized offers are likely to occur.