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Maharashtra Gambling Laws in India 2020

Felicia Wijkander
Last updated on 23rd November 2020

Published: 24/01/2019

Categories: Guides, Guides Gambling Laws, News

india-maharashtra casino

In India, online gambling is becoming increasingly popular.

Unfortunately, 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.

How to gamble from Maharashtra

Gambling from Maharashtra is easier than you might think. You can disregard the local gambling laws and instead 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 Curacao. Since they’re not located in India, they don’t have to comply with Indian law.

There has also never been any prosecutions of Indian players playing at these kinds of gambling sites.
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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 desi 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 Gaming 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 conviction requires a six-month prison term, but there is no fine.

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 betting is a very complicated issue. Since casinos are illegal, foreign online gambling sites can easily offer gambling to desi 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.

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 Casino does, for example, offer their website in several Indian languages such as Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali.

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 the 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.

Operators located outside of India are not affected by Indian law, so that you can use these for safe 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.

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