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.
Gambling has been a big part of our Indian history and culture for centuries, and quite a lot has changed in the last year. The Internet, smartphones and, of course, access to online casinos have revolutionized the way we gamble.
At Seven Jackpots, 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.
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.
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.
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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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.
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!
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.
This live casino provider operates the Bollywood live roulette and blackjack tables.
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:
Indian online sites (such as the ones in Sikkim) will deduct a TDS (Tax Deduction at Source) on your winnings.
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.