Maharashtra Gambling Laws

Many Indian states, including Maharashtra, still have very strict, archaic laws related to gambling.

Despite the legal landscape, Mumbai has a thriving gambling culture, being a major contributor to the ₹11 lakh crore industry.

Here at SevenJackpots we are closely monitoring the Indian gambling landscape to make sure that you always stay up to date with the latest information.

Surbhi Soni Senior Associate at Touchstone Partners

Audited by Surbhi Soni

Senior Associate at Law Firm Touchstone Partners

Last audit on 12th April 2022

How to gamble from Maharashtra

Gambling from Maharashtra is easier than you might think. With the help of an internet connection, you can join any of the online casino sites listed here at SevenJackpots.

These sites are based outside the country and are licensed elsewhere, usually in Malta or Curaçao. Since they’re not located in India, they are able to offer their games to Bharat players with a low risk of being affected by Indian law.

There have never been any prosecutions of Indian players playing at these kinds of gambling sites. That said, engaging in games or betting is considered gambling, and you are therefore asked to only do so at your own risk.

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Only a very limited selection of games are legal in Maharashtra, and we can tell you already that the ones legal are none that you’d wish would be legal.

Well, maybe except Rummy.

All games of chance are banned, which means that you can’t enjoy live casino table games, video slots, jackpot games, game shows, or bingo.

From a legal standpoint, Maharashtra’s laws have huge loopholes when it comes to online casino games played at offshore casinos, which works in favor of Indian players.

Gambling Laws in Maharashtra

Gambling in Maharashtra is regulated by the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887, also known as the Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887.

The state also follows the Indian gambling laws of the Public Gambling Act, 1867. Overall, the gambling laws and regulations of Maharashtra aren’t that different from many other states.

In short, running a gaming house is the most serious crime one can commit. Visiting such a house is also considered a crime, as is participating in any other form of gambling or betting in locally organized events.

Only horse racing, lottery, and Rummy can be enjoyed legally within the state.

The Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887

Although the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887, does make it illegal to run a gaming house, penalties for this crime are very light.

For a first-time offense, the fine is ₹200, the prison sentence one month.

A second conviction results in a three-month prison term, with another fine of ₹200.

A third or subsequent conviction requires a six-month prison term, with a fine of no less than ₹200.

These “light” fines are one of the main reasons that common gaming houses are found in cities such as Mumbai.

Maharashtra Gambling Law Changes

As in many states in India, online gambling is a very complicated issue. Since casinos are illegal, foreign online gambling sites can easily offer casino games to Indian players.

The Maharashtra government considers online gambling to be a major problem, and in 2018, they considered instituting new policies that would restrict online gambling. But the coin of gambling is two-sided, as some would rather see it legalized.

Casinos were close to being made legal by the Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Tax) Act, 1976, but unfortunately, the law was never implemented.

Casino in Mumbai & Pune

There are no exceptions to Maharashtra’s gambling laws for residents of Mumbai or Pune, but there are other ways to play.

Goa is located just a few hours south of Mumbai and Pune, making land-based, legal gambling fairly easy. Another easier option is to play at one of the great Indian casino sites available online.

Casino in Nagpur

Residents of Nagpur will have to take a considerably longer trip to make it to Goa. Instead, playing casino in Nagpur is easier done online.

The casino sites available to you are tailored to Indians; Pure Win does, for example, offer their website in several Indian languages such as Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali.

Maharashtra FAQ

You can enjoy online gambling from Maharashtra, just play at an online gambling site located outside of India to minimize the risk of doing so.
Local sports betting is not legal in Maharashtra, but is available at foreign online casino sites. Placing bets at gaming houses is illegal.
Online lottery is legal in Maharashtra. It’s one of the 13 Indian states offering state lotteries.

Lottery in Maharashtra

Maharashtra is one of the 13 states in India that allows lotteries to be run as per The Lotteries Regulation Act, 1998.

Only agents authorized by the Maharashtra government may print and sell lottery tickets. Printing and selling tickets without authorization can result in a prison sentence of up to two years.

People interested in selling lottery tickets will also have to register with the Maharashtra tax authority. The tax registration requirement has led to some contention, as lottery tax rates are much higher than many agents would prefer.

Authorized private lotteries, for example, became subject to a 28 percent tax as of 2017. Lottery ticket agents participated in a two-day strike in August 2017 to protest this tax rate.

Sports betting in Maharashtra

Cricket is the most popular sport in Maharashtra, which has led many people to bet on matches, despite this type of betting being illegal.

The Public Gaming Act, 1867, condemns any kind of sports betting, with the exception of betting on horse racing.

Although it is illegal to place bets locally on sports, this law is easily circumvented by betting at an offshore online casino.

Since it’s hard for India to properly prosecute operators located outside of India, you can use these sites for safe, fair, and secure sports betting.

Horse racing in Maharashtra

Betting on horse races is legal in Maharashtra as per the Bombay Race Courses Licensing Act, 1912.

Like in many other states, horse racing is considered a game of skill here and is, therefore, one of the few gambling options you can enjoy legally.

And horse racing is huge in Maharashtra, being organized at the Mumbai Mahalaxmi Racecourse and the Pune Racecourse.

Betting can be done at various Tote points at the racecourses and at any of the Tote Service Outlets run by licensed bookmakers.

The backside of betting on horses is that any winnings from horse racing are subject to a 30.90% tax, as per Section 115BB of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

maharashtra horse racing

Status on Rummy, Poker, Flush, and other card games

Rummy and poker are two card games that are considered games of skill by the Indian Supreme Court.

In Maharashtra, playing these games is legal, but there isn’t really any official legislation enforcing their legality.

Playing the games for real money in a club is, for example, considered illegal, while playing it at a friend’s house, or on the bus, is fine.

Several online rummy and poker sites available in India make placing stakes on these games a lot easier.

To sum it up

Maharashtra joins the numerous states where local gambling is restricted, and where the line between legal and illegal is somewhat blurry.

At the end of the day, we are here to make sure that you can play with your money safely and fairly, which is why we’d simply ask you to do so online.

The online gambling sites found on our website have gone through rigorous testing, and we are proud to offer them to you.

Don’t take unnecessary risks with illegal gambling in Maharashtra, play online casino in India using a foreign site instead. Just remember that no gambling is ever 100% free from risk.

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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.

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