Is Betting Legal?
With 1.38 billion people residing within its borders, India is the second-most populous country on the planet. To put that into perspective, India accounts for a little over 17% of Earth’s population. Many Indians love to gamble. They enjoy slots, casino table games, sports betting, and everything in between. A massive population mixed with an affinity for gambling makes this South Asian nation a prime target for international online gambling operators.
There are many offshore betting sites that welcome Indian players and their currency. Indians have access to the full spectrum of gambling verticals and bonuses. Those who gamble in India, particularly novices, ask themselves an important question. Is online gambling legal in India? The answer to this question is rather complex. Keep reading to learn about gambling in India and the laws that apply.
Is Gambling Legal in India? Key Takeaways
- The value of India’s gambling industry is expected to reach 250 billion INR by 2024.
- With the exception of horse racing and lotteries, India’s gambling industry is regulated by individual states.
- Indian authorities do not issue online gambling licenses. This means no online betting sites legally exist in the country.
- Offshore sites can offer their services to Indian residents as long as they support the Indian Rupee for deposits, withdrawals, and betting.
- 40% of India’s internet users participate in online gambling.
- Goa, Daman, and Sikkim are the only Indian states that issue licenses to land-based casinos.
Is Online Gambling Legal in India? India’s Gambling Laws
Is online gambling legal in India? Let’s start by saying that Indians have loads of excellent online betting sites to choose from. While having so many options is an advantage, it can also be challenging to sort through all of them to find the best one. Using our comparisons will ease the burden. Our experts closely examine all aspects of online betting sites and provide you with all of the information you’ll need to make an informed decision. You can trust that the sites we recommend meet or exceed our high standards.
Is online gambling legal in India? Before we answer that question, we must look at the country’s general laws. Let’s start with the Public Gambling Act which governs gambling in India. This antiquated piece of legislation went into effect way back in 1867. Needless to say, it doesn’t address online gambling. Instead, it prohibits almost all forms of gambling. The strange thing is that the act does not define what gambling is exactly.
The fact that the act does not apply to games of skill muddies the waters even more. The precise definition of a “game of skill” is not made clear. One thing that is clear is that playing the lottery and betting on horses is allowed. India is home to several race tracks that accept bets. Is betting legal in India? Some forms are.
The Public Gambling Act states that it is illegal to operate a gaming house. It’s even illegal to be found playing in one. Offenders face relatively stiff fines and jail time. The act defines a gaming house as basically any physical space such as a house, room, or vessel in which gambling occurs. So, does this apply to internet gambling? Is the internet a physical space? Is online gambling legal in India? The Public Gambling Act doesn’t specifically make it illegal. Nor does it say it is legal. Authorities don’t appear to have much interest in prosecuting those who place bets online at offshore sites.
Another piece of legislation that impacts online gambling is the Foreign Exchange Management Act. While F.E.M.A wasn’t intended to impact online gambling in India, it does make it a little more difficult to make deposits and withdrawals at offshore betting sites. It places certain restrictions on payments to entities outside of India such as foreign-operated betting sites.
In other words, Indian online gamblers who use credit cards or bank transfers to deposit and withdraw often have their transactions blocked. Using eWallets such as Neteller and PayPal along with vouchers is the most effective way of circumventing this obstacle. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are options too.
Legal Gambling in India
Sikkim is one of the most liberal states as far as gambling is concerned. It is one of three Indian states to allow brick-and-mortar casinos to operate, and it is the only one that allows sports betting. That means those in Sikkim can feel free to place Asian handicap bets. What is Asian handicap betting you ask? It’s akin to a point spread that handicaps the favorite and gives the underdog a virtual lead.
If Bet365 offers Goa at -1.5 and Chennaiyin at +1.5 for an Indian Super League match, Goa bettors would need their team to win by at least a pair of goals. Chennaiyin backers would need their team to either win outright or lose by no more than one goal.
Goa has become somewhat of an Indian gambling Mecca. The state boasts 10 casinos and is a popular destination for those who seek the thrill of casino gambling. With just one casino, Daman, which is the capital of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, is the latest Indian city to offer casino gambling. As an aside, the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act specifies that casinos can only operate in five-star hotels and offshore vessels. Four of Goa’s ten casinos are floating. Is betting legal in India? It is at casinos in Sikkim, Goa, and Daman.
Is Online Gambling Legal in India? It Depends Where You Are
Is online gambling legal in India? As we already mentioned, individual states have the power to create their own gambling laws. This leads to different regions having different rules. For instance, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra are among the few states that don’t permit lotteries except for non-profit charitable lotteries. Most other states allow lotteries. Punjab actually allows online lotteries. Is online gambling legal in India? Online lotteries are in some regions.
One of the most important rules regarding the legality of online gambling in India is that offshore sites are legally permitted to offer their services to those living in India. The only stipulation is that those operators must support the rupee for deposits, withdrawals, and placing bets. Is online gambling legal in India? Again, most state laws do not expressly say whether it is or not. Put it this way: Most regions will not even attempt to stop you if you are wagering real money at an offshore site that accepts Indian players and the rupee. It really depends on where you are in the country.
Of course, even if online gambling is prohibited in a region, there is little authorities can do to stop it. The majority of people with a modicum of internet savvy can easily overcome most barriers placed in their way.
How to Find the Best Betting Site
In 2010, it looked like two of the world’s most trusted operators, William Hill and 888, would be two of three online operators to receive licenses in Sikkim. The plan fell through to the dismay of Sikkim’s online betting enthusiasts. Fortunately, Indian residents who want to place real money wagers at online betting sites have plenty of safe, secure, and fair offshore options. Not only do these sites accept players from India, but they also support the Rupee and an array of Indian-friendly payment methods. Don’t forget about the wonderful bonuses, promotions, and loyalty programs that provide Indian players with oodles of added value.
Finding your ideal betting site requires a bit of work, but it’s well worth the effort. Start by figuring out what type of online betting you like to do. Is it online casino games? Sports betting? Poker? It’s easy to find reputable sites that feature all three verticals and more. Those who are looking for an online casino should pick one that has the largest number of games you want to play. Sports bettors should find an online bookie that covers the most betting markets, offers the best odds, and has a variety of features such as live streaming and the cash-out option.
How does cash out betting work? Essentially, it allows you to close a wager before the match you bet on has completed. Most online poker players prefer playing at sites with high traffic volume and lots of poker variants like Hold ‘Em, Omaha, Stud, and Draw Poker. Think about what your unique gaming requirements are and find the site that meets those needs.
Find the Best Welcome Bonus
Now that you know the answer to ‘is online gambling legal in India?’, you’ll want to start looking for welcome bonuses. When it comes to hunting for the best welcome bonus, you need to find one that gives you the best value relative to the amount you plan on depositing. Most betting sites design their welcome offers for recreational players with modest gambling budgets. 888casino is a great example of this. For starters, they’ll give you a no-deposit bonus worth $88, or about 6,600 INR, just for signing up. They will then 100% match your first deposit up to $200 or 15,000 INR. This offer is perfect for those on a modest budget.
On the other hand, you might have deeper pockets than the average bettor. In that case, you should find a welcome bonus that offers a bigger reward for your bigger deposit. We can once again point out 888casino’s Premium Welcome Package which can net you up to $1,500 or currency equivalent in bonus cash over your first five deposits. 888will match 100% your first deposit up to $100, or about 7,500 INR. They will then 30% match your next four deposits up to $350, or about 26,000 INR each.
You can see how recreational players get more from the regular welcome bonus while high rollers get more out of the premium package. Find the bonus that is best suited to your budget. Our bonus comparisons are immensely helpful for anyone looking for a valuable bonus. Learning about no-risk matched betting in India will assist you in turning your free bet bonuses into real cash.
Reading and understanding the terms and conditions that apply to any bonus you are considering claiming is crucial. The T&Cs contain critical details such as wagering requirements, time restrictions, and what games you can play with your bonus money. With sportsbook bonuses, claimants must usually meet minimum odds requirements in order for qualifying bets to count.
Also, you likely won’t be able to use the cash-out feature with free bets. All of those details are just as important as the bonus amount and they give you a truer picture of how good a bonus really is. You can use our comparisons to find out which online casino or which bookmaker is the best for beginners in India.
Other Factors to Consider
Once you have narrowed your search of the best operators and bonuses, you’ll still probably be left with a considerable number of options. You can then start weighing other factors. Features as simple as tutorials and guides are valuable resources for beginners and experienced bettors alike. The ideal sportsbook will explain how betting odds are calculated and how arbitrage betting works.
The best online casinos let players try games for free so they can learn how to play them. Highly rated poker sites explain the rules and strategies. Any small feature that enhances your online betting experience is a must. There are countless online betting sites out there so you can afford to be picky. Aside from using our operator comparisons, here are five additional important tips for your consideration.
- Make sure the site is licensed and regulated in one or more reputable jurisdictions.
- Make sure the site offers plenty of promotions that pique your interest.
- Make sure the site uses the latest security technology like SSL encryption and firewalls.
- Conduct a Google search to find out what other experts have to say about the site.
- Be sure the site supports the rupee.
Is betting legal in India? Lotteries and horse race betting are. Some states even have casinos and sports gambling. What about wagering online? Is online gambling legal in India? The answer remains as clear as mud. As far as federal laws are concerned, they definitely don’t say that online gambling is illegal.
On the flip side, the act doesn’t say it’s legal either. Even if the Public Gambling Act was amended, the states have the final say. The reality is that a good chunk of India’s massive population gambles online without fear of repercussions. India represents one of the biggest gambling markets in the world and a growing number of operators welcome Indian players and their currency. Let our experts help you find the right betting site and bonus for you.