Is Online Gambling Legal in India?
Online gambling is a booming business everywhere around the world, including India. However, is it legal? Can Indian players play casino games and bet online without looking over their shoulder? The answer to the question “Is gambling legal in India?” is a bit more complex than one would like.
The truth is that gambling is only legal for a few types. Land-based gambling is possible in some of the states, but Indians love to play online. Since India has pretty outdated laws in gambling in general, it still hasn’t updated them accordingly. Even with the industry pushing for a change to the status quo, the government obviously has other priorities.
Web gambling remains in limbo as a result, but that goes both ways. The fact that there’s no strict regulation to online gaming means that offshore sites can offer their services to Indians with ease. The majority of casino sites allow players to bet with Rupees, which goes against the wishes of the government, but is perfectly legal.
History of Gambling in India
Organized betting and similar gambling activities have been popular in India for quite a while. However, not all forms of gambling are legal. The fact remains that gambling in India is quite restricted save for a few forms in pari-mutuel betting (horse racing) and lotteries. Everything else is outlawed.
Now, states are able to set their own laws. That’s why legalized casinos are available in Goa. Sikkim and Daman also operate casinos, but there’s no word on online gambling activity at all. Due to the outdated Public Gambling Act that’s a few centuries old, Indians don’t know where they stand when it comes to online gaming.
Which doesn’t stop them from playing at offshore casino sites at all. International bookies are popular too. The fact that these sites can operate legally as long as they accept Rupees makes things easy for both them and the players. Online casinos have been a hot topic in India, with players and operators pushing for lawful changes. They generate an incredible revenue year by year, yet the government fails to capitalize on it.
So, is online casino legal in India? Let’s take a look at the current laws.
Indian Gambling Laws
The gambling issue in India has been a growing concern for the government for a while. Some parties argue that the country should reap the rewards. Others believe that online gambling leads to crime and corruption. The fact is the government will probably legalize it soon, but there’s been no major movement in that front.
Right now, there are a few gambling laws that oversee online gambling in India, some more, some less.
Public Gambling Act of 1867
This act is pretty outdated, being nearly two centuries old. Per it, all forms of gambling in India are illegal. Cricket, for example, is a major sport in India, yet according to the act, betting on it is impossible. The law makes a distinction between games of skill and games of chance, although this isn’t always clear.
The law predicts fines for those caught gambling, although it isn’t enforced as much as the authorities would love to. Sure, there will be always be a gang caught betting on cricket, but illegal rings always exist and can’t be fully eradicated, which is why many propose legalization of gambling.
Information Technology Act of 2000
Known as ITA-2000, this law was voted in mid-October, 2000. It’s the primary law in India that deals with electronic commerce and cyber crime. However, it says nothing about gambling or similar matters, so courts have refused to examine the matter further.
State Gambling Laws
Until a decision is taken by the central government, online gambling in India will continue to exist in a legal grey area. There’s no specific law or laws that authorities can point to that outlaw online gambling in general. Online gaming is neither legal or illegal, with millions of Indians enjoying betting and gambling online at offshore sites.
States Where Gambling is Legal
With Indian states able to draft up their own laws in regards to gambling, many have done so instead of waiting for the government to act. The government has failed to regulate gambling properly for 150 years, and is still hesitant to do so. On the other hand, states such as Goa, Sikkim, Gujarat, Nagaland, and Bihar have taken matters into their own hands and issue licenses that allow casinos to operate.
Those are mostly land-based locations and luxury boat casinos, with no mention of online gambling at all. Of course, that requires the government to tweak the law, which probably won’t happen anytime soon.
Offshore Casinos the Only Way
Those who prefer to play slots and casino games online in India can currently enjoy offshore sites only. These casinos and betting sites have international licenses, and since there’s lack of regulation in India, they can offer their services to Indians legally. Of course, players ask themselves is online casino legal in India, which, as far as we can tell, isn’t.
Playing online at these casinos is probably punishable by law, but it’s hard to fine a player as they don’t operate on Indian soil. They cover the other requirement in accepting Rupees, so rarely anyone gets punished.
Why do Indian players love online casinos and betting sites? The answer is easy – they have an unbeatable offer of bonuses and games. Online casinos often come with thousands of games including hundreds of online slots with huge winning potential and gamification features. The gap between them and video games is swiftly closing, and if you give one a try, you’ll see how great they are.
Aside from slots you also get a wide range of RNG and live dealer table and card games, making online gambling much better than visiting land-based venues in Goa.
Types of Online Gambling Sites in India
When talking about online gambling in India, we mean the whole market, not just online casinos. There are other types of gaming sites that can get a license and offer their services to Indian players. While the majority of licensed websites are online casinos, you also get sportsbooks and racebooks that are worth a mention.
- Online sportsbooks: with cricket betting illegal in India, punters can’t enjoy all the great action on offer from internationals and the IPL. The only option is to bet in illegal dens, which can result in prison time, or use offshore sportsbooks. Of course, Indian punters prefer the latter, and international sites very much oblige. There are plenty of cricket betting sites online in India where you can bet on IPL action and put your money on India’s Test or World Cricket Cup matches. There are specifically designed online betting sites for this matter that accept Rupees and also allow you to bet on any other sport you can think of. If you’re looking to bet on cricket online, you have plenty of licensed and legit options.
- Racebooks: special racebooks don’t exist, but many online bookies include them as a separate page on their website. With pari-mutuel betting legal in India, it’s easy to put your money on top horse races online. The biggest online bookmakers have a racebook too, allowing Indian punters to put their money on action from all over the globe.
- Online casinos: online casinos are the crowning achievement of the online gambling industry. They come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have the ultimate goal – to provide casino gaming to Indian players from the comfort of their home or on the go. Just a few decades ago, this was unimaginable. Now we live in such a reality, and it doesn’t stop there. Online casinos are getting better by the minute, offering thousands of slots and casino games along with exciting bonuses and promotions. Of course, the best ones such as GunsBet also accept Rupees and have a wide range of games you can play on your phone.
Which Games can Indian Players Enjoy Online?
Why do Indian players love online casinos so much? Well, besides the bonuses, they offer an almost endless list of games including slots that play like video games. Slots have evolved past the point of cabinets. They’ve grown bigger, better, and bolder online, coming packed with exciting bonus action that can deliver wins worth thousands of times your stake.
Of course, all the casino classics are available as well. Players can enjoy a slew of roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and poker games, in either RNG or live dealer variety.
Video slots are, hands down, the biggest game in the iGaming industry. They come in many shapes and sizes, from homages to vintage slot games to modern titles with thousands of ways to win and huge jackpots. They’ve evolved past the lever and now come with a range of advanced features that can deliver wins in different ways. Plus, modern slots these days have bonuses that pay more than the main game, some in the form of boss fights that will undoubtedly remind Indian players of video games.
The cool thing about slots online is that you can play them for free. You could never spin a slot machine for free in Goa or Sikkim, but India online casinos give you that opportunity. No one’s pushing you to play for real money. Slots are fun even without it, which is the reason why players love spinnin’ the reels.
Table and Card Games
Who can resist the spin of the roulette wheel or the dealer’s invitation to a game of 21? While video slots rule the industry, blackjack, roulette, and poker are very popular among Indian players. They now come in different variants besides the classic games in India online casinos. Some of these games have slightly altered rules allowing for even more exciting gameplay that can take your wins to the next level.
Similar to slots, RNG variants of card and table games can be played for free. It’s an excellent idea if you want to brush up on the rules or you simply want to learn how to play blackjack or poker, for example.
When you’re ready to play for real money, you can go live.
Live Casino Games
It’s fair to say that live dealer games are an absolute blast. However, they’re oriented toward seasoned players as you can’t play these for free. Sitting at an Infinite Blackjack table without previous knowledge of the game can possibly result in your bankroll lost, so only play these games when you’re ready.
Unlike RNG games and slots, these games are played against human dealers. They are streamed from land-based venues or studios in great HD video quality. Of course, they come with a range of features specific to online games, allowing you to interact with the game and the dealer just like you’re in a casino.
Best Legal Online Casinos in India
Looking to play at a legal online casino in India but you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry – CasinoOrc’s got your back. We have a selection of the top legit casinos in the country where you shouldn’t be afraid to play with Rupees.
Just choose one from the list below and enjoy your favorite games with no legal worries.
Legal and Safe Online Gambling Payments
Reputable and legal online casinos will never use illegal payment methods. That’s one way to recognize rogue casinos from legit sites. The best legit India online casinos have a wide range of payment methods on offer, all legit options that comply with India’s financial laws. Of course, the best sites will also accept Rupees so you can play your favorite games without ever paying conversion fees.
Why are legit payment methods important? Well, they complete the whole legal picture of a legit casino. No reputable gaming site will choose shady payment options that don’t guarantee the safety of your data. Now, there’s an easy solution to it – bank transfers. However, they’re much slower than digital payments, and not all banks are eager to work with online casinos.
What are the most common payment methods for Indian players? Here’s an overview:
This is just a fraction of the payment methods you’ll come across at the best India online casinos. They’re all user-friendly and have reasonable limits, and of course, they all work with Rupees. Thanks to that, you don’t need to worry about currency conversion fees. Most Indian players will either use UPI or IMPS for casino deposits, since they already have accounts and use these payments to pay for bills online.
Deposits should be instant and fee-free. Withdrawal times are expectedly slower. However, should you pick a reputable e-wallet, you should have your winnings in a flash. No legal online casino should charge for withdrawals, and by using these payments, you won’t see any extra charge to your account.
The Future of Online Gambling in India
So, is gambling legal in India? That’s a gray area – casino gambling is legal in some states, while online gambling regulation is in the process. There’s been no major movement in that area as of 2022, but players are hopeful that the government regulates online gaming soon. It could be a win-win situation for all parties involved, as this is a lucrative industry that can boost the country’s fragile economy.
Things have already been set in motion, with hundreds of online casinos already in prime position to offer their services to Indian payers. They might be offshore now, but with a drafted law, that could soon change. There are many reasons why Indians prefer playing online than in land-based venues, just like the rest of the world does.
Online casinos will go legal in India before long, and it’ll be the revolution we’ve all been waiting for.