Is Online Casino legal in India?

Author: Sai Bhatti
clock 7 minutes read

There has been long time speculation among players on whether casino online is legal in India. This can be confusing for new players eyeing the exciting Online Casino world. Gambling, more so social gambling among friends and in social gatherings is not new and has been a popular pastime for Indians for many years. However, with Online Casino being a new trend around the world, it is advisable to find out which sites you can join and what laws apply to gambling activities in India. My in-depth review covers the different rules that govern gambling in the different states in India.

Is Gambling Legal in All States in India?

There is no blanket rule on gambling as different states in India have different rules concerning gambling on their states.

For instance, some states completely prohibit any forms of land based gambling while some states apply specific rules on specific games. There are laws governing different games such as online casino games, games of skill and games of chance, horse racing, prize competitions, lotteries and sports betting. 

For instance, only 3 states namely, Sikkim, Goa and Daman have relaxed rules on land based gambling. However, Online Casino is not illegal, meaning that there’s no law that specifically prohibits it, in all the states as long as the operator is based overseas.

Legal Standing on Games of Skill and Games of Chance

Games of skill are not considered to be gambling activities and are, therefore, legally acceptable. This includes games such as horse racing, dog racing, bridge and Rummy.

Sports betting remains as a grey area as it is not clarified to be a game of skill or chance by the Supreme Court of India. Online sports betting thus falls to different states judgment. It is legalized in Sikkim. Games of chance on the other hand are termed as gambling and include games such as 3-card Brag, poker and other casino games.

They are only legally accepted in states such as Sikkim and Goa when the operators have applied for licenses. The rules, however, do not refer to Online Casino operators who offer services remotely and players can sign up and play all types of Online Casino games from these sites.

Laws on Lottery Games

Government Lotteries fall under the 1998 Central Lotteries Regulation.

To regulate the activities further, different states have their own laws on lotteries with the sates setting specific dates and jackpot amounts for their lotteries. There are 13 States that accept lotteries.

These are Sikkim, Kerala, Nagaland, Punjab, West Bengal, Mizoram, Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Goa, Manipur and Andhra Pradesh. In addition to this, players can participate in international online lotteries that are offered by online lottery sites in India 2020. This includes the US Powerball and Euro jackpot among others.

Laws Governing Landbased Casino Games

The public gambling act of 1867 prohibits players from engaging in gambling and any persons found operating gambling houses are liable to prosecution.

There is an exception in some states such as Goa, Sikkim and Daman. These states allow gambling in land based casinos, casino floating boats and big five star hotels. This is necessitated through enacting laws such as the Sikkim Casino Games Act 2004. Players in these states can therefore walk into a gambling premises and play casino games without fear of prosecution.

Examples include casino Sikkim, floating Casino Pride in Goa and Casino Deltin Royale.

The other states prohibit gambling with players who are caught visiting gambling houses liable to a fine of INR 100 or one month’s imprisonment. Gambling operators are also liable to a fine of INR200 or an imprisonment of 3 months.

What Does the Law rule on Indian Online Casino?

Most of the Indian laws that govern gambling are in reference to the 1867 Public gaming Act. The act does not make any mention of Online Casino, which has only surfaced recently. It is, therefore, evident that there are many grey areas in regards to India online gambling, which many operators have taken advantage of.

Online gambling can be said to be both legal and illegal, depending on which state a player resides in. India law prohibits online casino from India gaming agencies in most states. Any form of gambling, online or on landbased gaming companies is prohibited in states such as Maharashtra. As such gambling from this state would be completely illegal and liable to prosecution. The only exception is on horse racing which is considered a game of skill and therefore legally allowed in Maharashtra. 

The contradiction on the other hand is that there are only a few documented cases of prosecuted online casino players from this state.

The reverse is that casino online can be said to be legal in Sikkim and other states as long as the gambling operators operate offshore. In fact, Sikkim state has relaxed its laws on online casino and now gambling operators can apply for a license if they wish to carry out online casino operations. They, however, need to meet the requirement, that the overseas operator makes a provision for their Indian players to make payments in Indian Rupees.

This is a wise decision for a state that stands to gain revenue from online casino and at the same time, it discourages players from playing at illegal sites when they have a choice to play in licensed sites.       

Moreover, the federal law does not restrict online gambling from offshore companies that operate from overseas. Consequently, it can be interpreted that online casino is allowed on sites that hold remote licenses and Indian players can legally sign up and play online casino games. Most online casinos and gaming sites accept Indian players, with some offering players a chance to deposit funds in Indian Rupee currency in addition to the other major currencies. 

As an Indian player, you then have the liberty to join licensed and regulated online casino sites if you can observe the necessary laws such as paying the required taxes on gambling proceeds exceeding INR 10,000.

What Does the Future of Indian Online Law Look Like?

Many states around the world are only now waking up to the realization that the online casino craze is not ending soon.

There is therefore, a flurry of activity in many states around the world as they try to regulate casino online and adopt the best laws that suit the players and the state.

For instance, some states in America have just recently crafted new laws and legalized casino online.

It would not be unreasonable to expect India to follow the same route and make changes to its gambling laws. This, however, remains to be seen and we are definitely keeping tabs on the same in order to bring you the most current information on Indian gambling laws. In the meantime, you can enjoy both Teen Patti and Andar Bahar Online together with a Casino Bonus exclusive from today!




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