Gambling Laws in India

At SevenJackpots, we are passionate about gambling and betting, and we want you to be too! That’s why we are going to teach you everything we know about the laws and regulations of India. So that you can enjoy playing, and winning, legally.

Gambling has been a big part of Indian history and culture for centuries, and quite a lot has changed in the last years. The Internet, smartphones and, of course, access to online casinos have revolutionized the way we gamble.

Indian State Legality

The map below gives you a complete overview of the legal landscape in India. Click on states or Union Territories to learn more about their specific laws and regulations.

(Zoom in on the map to click smaller states or UT’s like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Goa.)

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Gambling Legislation

  • Legal

  • Illegal

  • No legislation

Latest Gambling Law News

Gambling laws in India are complex, and states amend their laws from time to time. No matter if they change due to a global pandemic or other reasons, we want you to know about it. We always strive to provide you with the latest news regarding India’s legal landscape so that you can play in peace.

Understanding the Gambling Laws in India

We’re not going to lie; the gambling laws in India are complicated. For many reasons. The most obvious one being that the governing laws are some 150 years old.

We’ve spent long days and nights reading through documents and reports on the legal situation in India. All so that we can give you the most accurate information possible. And believe us, legal texts are not fun to read, which is why we’re breaking them down for you here in a more understandable format.

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In Partnership with Touchstone Partners

The team here at SevenJackpots has years of iGaming experience, but we are not law practitioners.

For that reason, we’ve partnered up with one of India’s most prominent law firms, Touchstone Partners!

Touchstone Partners are experienced in Indian gambling law and will be auditing the content we create, ensuring that what we publish is correct.

How the auditing process works

We believe that in an ever-changing legal landscape like India, it’s important that we stay on top of the gambling laws in the whole country.

To do so, we’ve established an auditing process together with Touchstone Partners:

  1. We publish our content.
  2. Touchstone Partners audits the page.
  3. Amendments are done (if needed,) and the audit box below is added to the audited page.
Punya Varma Associate at Touchstone Partners

Last audited on 24th May 2021

By Punya Varma

Associate at Law Firm Touchstone Partners

Published: 24/05/2021

Categories: Gambling Laws

The Gambling Act in India today

Gambling in India as a country is dictated primarily by the Public Gaming Act, which was put into effect in 1867. The government initially applied this law to the whole country but has since allowed states to handle gambling laws on their own. Many of them do use the Gaming Act as a foundation for their regulations or restrictions.

The gambling Act sees a clear distinction between different game types. For example, plenty of games that incorporate skills are legal. This includes poker, fantasy sports, and horse racing. Even lottery has its framework from which it is legally offered to Indian players.

Furthermore, since these gambling laws in India are old, we are today able to enjoy casino games online without having to worry about breaking them. Online gambling did not exist 150 years ago, creating a natural grey area full of potential for us eager gamblers.

The answer to this question depends on the game type and the location. When it comes to legislation, the laws mainly focus on “gaming or common gaming houses.” In other words, real gambling at physical locations within the country. A casino, if you may.

Gambling, as such, has been illegal in India since the Public Gaming Act. Persons caught breaking the law receive rather mild punishment; up to 200 rupees fine, or up to 3 months imprisonment.

The Act does, however, not completely ban all forms of gambling. Instead, it differentiates between games of skill and games of chance. According to the original Public Gaming Act, game types are divided as follows:

Games of skill Games of chance
Rummy, Bridge, Poker
Chess, Carom
Horse Racing
Golf, Darts
Fantasy Sports
Slot games
RNG-table games
Blackjack
Roulette
Baccarat

Skill-based games are legal to participate in as long as they are conducted in line with regulations. Chance-based games are illegal, with the exception when offered from within the states of Goa, Sikkim, or Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

Interestingly, there are exceptions to these laws. During Diwali, it’s considered ok to gamble together with friends and family. A household where gambling occurs indoors during Diwali is not considered a common gaming house and thus not considered illegal.

Which are the Gambling Laws in India in 2021?

There are several gambling laws in India. First off, you have the country laws which are in effect throughout India. Then, you have the state laws, which differ greatly from state to state. Laws also differ depending on if you are looking at land-based casinos or online casinos, or if you are looking at games of chance or games of skill.

Delhi Laws

Uttar Pradesh Laws

Maharashtra Laws

Karnataka Laws

West Bengal Laws

Tamil Nadu Laws

The Different Types of Gambling

As you can see from the table above, there are several different types of gambling in India. They all have their own rules and regulations, and these rules also differ between states.Confusing? Yes. But hear us out.

In reality, you only need to keep track of the laws of your state, and the game type that you are interested in playing. If you are playing physically, that is.

But more on that later.

  • Casino
    Only Goa, Sikkim, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu regulate and also offer casino games via brick-and-mortar casinos.
    When it comes to online gambling, the Gaming Enactments of each state regulate them. These Enactments deem casino games to be non-skill based gambling activities and are therefore prohibited.
  • Betting
    Betting can either be allowed or regulated, depending on what the betting is placed on.
    If placed on games of chance, it will be prohibited. If bets are placed on casino games or games of skill, there are exceptions to the rule that make betting legal.
  • Poker
    Poker is one of the games deemed a ‘game of skill.’ The Gaming Enactments of Indian states do not include poker, and as such, it’s widely available in the country.
    In Nagaland, operators need a license to offer Poker. Sikkim, Telangana, and Gujarat aren’t offering poker at all.
  • Bingo
    Bingo can either be considered lottery, or gambling.
    If considered a lottery, it falls under the Lottery Laws, which allows State Governments to organize lotteries under specific circumstances. If considered gambling, it will be a game of chance and thus be prohibited.
  • Lottery
    Some states modify the Government Lottery Laws.
    Lotteries are regulated in Sikkim, while Madhya Pradesh has completely banned it. In Punjab, the only form of lottery that is allowed is that which is conducted online.

Local Gambling Regulations in India

Although the Public Gaming Act has been introduced to the country as a whole, some of the country’s 29 states and 7 union territories have specific gambling laws.India is a vast country with a mix of people, cultures, and religions.

This, of course, also means that some areas will have a different view on gambling than others.

There are areas such as Orissa and Assam, where gambling is completely banned due to the high population of Hindi and Muslim people.

At the same time, locations such as Goa and Sikkim have created gambling regulations that allow for licensed operators to run land-based casinos.

  • Maharashtra
    Here, local operators are not allowed to offer casino games. That said, lottery, and betting on horse racing is legal. Rummy is also considered legal, although the laws are somewhat unclear on this.
  • New Delhi
    Delhi has set up their own Public Gambling Act, which prevents gambling within state borders. However, it doesn’t prohibit off-shore online casinos such as Pure Casino.
  • Karnataka
    Gambling in Karnataka is regulated by the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, as well as the Public Gambling Act, 1867. Gambling in a gaming-house is illegal, while rummy, poker, and horse racing are legal.
  • Meghalaya
    While most gambling is prohibited within Meghalaya by their Prevention of Gambling Act (1970), horse race betting is not. Bets can be placed on Teer via licensed operators.
  • Gujarat
    All forms of gambling are regulated by the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887. The act does not mention online gambling, making it possible to gamble online from here without issues.
  • Haryana
    Haryana has a history of attempted legalization of gambling but is still following the national gambling laws of India. Online gambling is possible, as is betting on horse racing.
  • Himachal Pradesh
    Games of skill are, as per the Public Gambling Act, 1867, legal in the state. Gambling is regulated as per the Himachal Pradesh amendment of the Public act, which allows for online gambling.
  • Punjab
    Punjab gambling is regulated by Indian country gambling laws. There’s a state lottery, and the possibility to gamble online.
  • Rajasthan
    In Rajasthan, the Public Gambling Act, 1867, dictates the gambling landscape, while the Rajasthan Public Gambling Ordinance, 1949, clarifies certain cases further.
  • Bihar
    In Bihar, gambling is regulated by the Public Gambling Act of 1867 and the Bihar Ban on Lottery Act, 1993. In short, the state follows national gambling laws, making it easy to play online from here.
  • Madhya Pradesh
    Madhya Pradesh uses the Indian Public Gambling Act, 1867 in combination with the M.P. Lottery Pratibandh Act,1993. MP is one of the country’s 13 states, which allows for a state lottery.
  • Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu
    Regulated states and union territories such as these allow casino games to be offered by licensed operators as per the Public Gambling Act, 1976. Slot machines and table games are found only at five-star hotels, and on offshore vessels (cruise ships).
  • Tamil Nadu
    The state of Tamil Nadu is one of the few in India where almost all forms of gambling are prohibited. The exception is horse racing, which is deemed an accepted game of skill to place bets on.
  • Sikkim
    Another regulated state that allows casino games such as slots and table games. They are found at five-star hotels and are regulated under The Sikkim Casino Act. Blackjack, roulette, and casino brag are all allowed types of games. Sikkim is the only state where sports betting is allowed.
  • Nagaland
    The Nagaland Act allows for a large number of virtual sports games, as well as poker, rummy, chess, etc. Nagaland is the only state where operators offering games of skill require a license.
  • Telangana
    This is one of the states within India, where all forms of gambling are prohibited. The Telangana Gaming Act 2017 confirms a zero-tolerance approach against gambling.
  • West Bengal
    In West Bengal, horse racing, rummy, poker, and the state-lottery is legal. And thanks to lax online gambling laws, players can enjoy casino games online, when played at a foreign site.
  • Assam
    Assam uses the Assam Game and Betting Act, 1970, to further clarify gambling’s illegality within the state. Horse race betting is allowed as per the Amusement and Betting Tax Act, 1939.
  • Kerala
    Indian country gambling laws regulate Kerala gambling. The state lottery has its own rules and regulations; the Kerala Paper Lotteries (Regulation) Rules, 2005.
  • Odisha
    All forms of gambling are banned in Odisha as per The Odisha Prevention of Gambling Act, 1955. That said, online gambling at licensed offshore casinos is still available.
  • Manipur
    In Manipur, gambling is regulated using archaic national laws. This means that it’s easy for you to play your favorite online casino games from here!

Online Gambling Laws and the IT Act

There are no distinct overlying laws that pinpoint the online gambling industry in India. Locally, the regular gaming Acts issued by the governments are already including all forms of gambling, both online and offline.

These laws are, however, not able to touch foreign casinos.

In the year 2000, The Information Technology Act was set up. The scope: To protect people from digital activity deemed able to “corrupt” them. The Act does, however, not mention online gambling explicitly, but is used to battle foreign operators.

How?

By utilizing ISP-blocking, where a local Internet provider blocks the casino website.

Something else that native gamblers can run into when gambling online is issues with making payments. The RBI has been working hard to block any transactions made for gambling purposes, which results in us Indians having to resort to alternative methods.

Skrill, Neteller, Google Pay, and other payment solutions are therefore preferred means of payment when playing at a casino online.

Overview of Online Gambling in India

It might seem as if it’s close to impossible to enjoy online gambling in India.

But here’s the kicker;

Foreign gambling sites don’t fall under local law!

What this means is that, although gaming companies are unable to offer casino games from within India, companies based elsewhere can.

You can play as much as you want on these websites without worrying about breaking any laws. Since they aren’t based in India, you are not participating in illegal gambling!

An ever-growing online gaming culture

Online gambling is increasingly popular in India, many thanks to increased Internet availability.According to The World Bank data, around 35% of India’s population was using the Internet in 2017. And the trend suggests that this is closer to 40% today.

The trend of Internet users in India, climbing steadily.

The number of secure internet servers in India has also increased. From being close to non-existent in 2010, over 250 thousand servers were recorded in 2018.

The number of secure internet servers in India, just passing 250,000 in 2017.

Various sources state that the gambling market back in 2009 was worth around $60 billion. And that 75% of that comes from foreign casinos! A lot has happened since 2009, and we’re sure that this amount has grown exponentially since.

Foreign Online Gambling Sites

There are plenty of online casinos that cater to Indian players today. Some have even tailored websites for us.

Native casino tables, unique promotions, the possibility to play using rupees, and a higher focus on the games we love to play.

Casinos aimed towards India are also very good at handling payments and account verifications in a fast and secure way.

We’ve selected the operators who all offer fair and safe gambling with loads of winning chances!

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Legal Game Providers in India

Even the game providers who are offering their games to online casinos are completely legal for you to play with. They are located outside of India, and also operate under strict licensing, just as the casinos.

What’s more, is that game providers regularly conduct audits on their games to ensure they are fair and safe – external organizations such as eCOGRA or iTechLabs conduct such inspections.

NetEnt
If you’ve ever visited an online casino site, chances are that you’ve spotted a NetEnt game. They hold a Critical Gaming Supply license from Malta, which allows them to offer their games to India.

They are offering slots, as well as live casino tables, and even jackpot games to Indian players.

Evolution Gaming
Another provider with a reputable MGA license is Evolution Gaming. Since the experience of a brick-and-mortar casino is only available in three states, they bring the experience to you instead.

This live casino provider operates the Bollywood live roulette and blackjack tables.

Ezugi
It’s not only Evolution who are opting for a more tailor-made live experience for us locals. Even Ezugi are donned with a license from Malta, and a love for India.

To ensure they are catering to all of us, they offer both Teen Patti and Andar Bahar!

Conclusion

It’s safe to say that India has gone through a lot when it comes to gambling. And it still is under constant discussions around the country. Gujarat is as we speak, reviewing the legality of poker, for example.

And, as mobile use, Internet use, and overall online gambling increases, the government starts to see the potential profit in regulating the market further to retain those profits within the country.

Only time will tell in which direction the online gambling laws in India will take. A higher number of regulated states is not impossible.

Seeing as gambling does have a presence in India, it is also susceptible to taxation. Well, at least the games that are traceable back to the player.

Is foreign gambling income taxable? Since operators are based outside of India, they don’t fall under taxation laws within the country.

There’s currently no easy solution for how to trace winnings made at foreign casinos. For local income, the situation looks a bit different:

[su_quote]As per the Indian income tax laws, any income, by way of winnings from any lottery or crossword puzzle or card game and other game of any sort, exceeding INR 10,000, is subject to a withholding tax of 30% – Tanisha Khanna[/su_quote]

Indian online sites (such as the ones in Sikkim) will deduct a TDS (Tax Deduction at Source) on your winnings.

Looking forward

Let’s face it; we as players want to be able to chase the dream of becoming crorepatis in a secure and fair environment. Being able to play at sites that tick all those boxes is already possible through the casinos we list. But we’d love to see India become a haven for us gamblers.

How will we be able to do that?

By leading by example.

Being committed to playing responsibly and engaging in legal gambling is a good start. So without further ado, we wish you the best of luck when playing.

And remember, always play responsibly.

Gambling Laws in India FAQ

Engaging in gambling activities within illegal gaming houses is considered an offense (even just visiting one). However, the primary focus of the laws within India when it comes to gambling is to catch those offering games illegally. Gamblers themselves are usually able to play without issues.
If you are located within Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, or Sikkim, you can bet at one of the land-based, licensed casinos available there. Are you located elsewhere? Hundreds of casino slot games, live casino tables, and sports odds await you at the online casinos we list here at Seven Jackpots.
Online sports betting is legal and widely available through foreign casino- and sportsbook-sites. Locally, only Sikkim has the right to offer sports betting to gamblers. The exception is that of horse racing, which is considered a game of skill and is thus allowed.
The casino sites that you find listed here at Seven Jackpots are the best and brightest in India right now. They’ve gone through rigorous testing by us, and they all offer fair, safe, and secure high-quality gaming.
When it comes to local online casinos, only Sikkim offers legal gambling sites. That said, it is not illegal for you as a player to gamble at online casinos located outside of India. So when speaking of online gambling, it’s more a question of it not being regulated, rather than it being illegal.
The majority of Indian states follow the Public Gaming Act, which allows gambling on skill-based games. These are (not excluding): Rummy, Bridge, Poker, Chess, Carom, Horse Racing, Golf, Darts, Fantasy Sports.
Online gambling is a form of gambling or betting where you access an online site to play. The site offers digital versions of slot games, as well as live-streamed live casino tables. Some even provide sports odds for you to bet on in real-time.
No, they are not. Many Indian states have their regulations. That said, foreign gaming companies can offer their online casino services to Indian players without being affected by state or country laws. No matter where you are, you will be able to enjoy casino games online.
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Disclaimer: This material is for general information only and is not intended as legal advice and no duty of care is owed to any reader. The readers of this material are requested to engage their own legal counsel in order to make any legal or business decisions and to obtain legal advice specific to them.