Gambling in India has been a favorite pastime activity for centuries now. But like in the United States, regulation of Indian gambling varies from state to state. In other words, states in India can formulate their customized gambling laws.
So, what does the law say about Indian online casinos? Is it legal to gamble online in this hugely populated jurisdiction? Has anyone ever been arrested for violating Indian gambling laws?
As said at the beginning, gambling in India is a state subject. Thus, only Indian states can formulate gambling laws within their respective areas.
That said, the Public Gambling Act of 1867 prevents running or owning a public gambling house. Anybody who breaks this law will face a penalty of up to 3 months imprisonment or 200 Rupees fine.
In addition to that, this gambling law prevents punters from visiting any in-person gambling venue. The penalty? Up to one-month imprisonment or a fine of 100 Rupees.
If you’re looking to play at an online casino in India, go ahead because no law prohibits online betting. As discussed above, the Public Gambling Act of 1867 is too old to cover online betting activities.
To cover this deficit, the federal government relies on the Information Technology Act of 2000. However, the law doesn’t mention the words “gambling” or “betting” anywhere. As a result, Indian courts were left to interpret the law, which they haven’t to date.
But this doesn’t mean that online casinos operate in a grey area in India. For example, Maharashtra state banned online gambling in 2013 after modifying the Bombay Wager Act. Also, the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states prohibited all forms of online gambling in January 2020.
On the other hand, Nagaland, Sikkim, Daman, and Goa are legal and regulated online gambling markets. Remember, though, that the laws allow only specific types of online gambling. Nagaland, for instance, only allows betting on skill-based games like blackjack and Texas Hold’em.
Online betting in India is at its infancy stage. This is quite a surprise, considering India is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Also, the vast population of more than 760 million smartphone users is a mouthwatering prospect for many online casino operators.
But although Indian casinos can’t own and promote gambling sites, the law doesn’t prevent offshore casinos (non-Indian casinos) from offering gambling services to Indian players. The only legal requirement is that the online casino must support payment in Indian Rupees.
Banking has been a primary obstacle bedeviling online bettors in India. For a while now, depositing money to offshore casinos has been extremely difficult.
With that in mind, Indian players fund their online casino accounts via Neteller and Moneybookers. While MasterCard and Visa may work, there are instances where these methods might fail. So, stick to Indian online casinos that offer e-wallet banking options to avoid any inconveniences.
Surprisingly, there is no instance where an online casino or sportsbook player has been arrested and charged in India. However, this is no guarantee that you won’t be fined or thrown into jail for playing online in states like Maharashtra and Telangana.
The authorities find little value in spending precious resources to track and nail down online casino players. And even if they start cracking down on players, they would have a hard time in court since federal law doesn’t prevent online betting.
Overall, you should easily enjoy a smooth gambling experience on offshore casinos in India. That’s because these casinos operate in a vacuum, as federal law doesn’t prevent them from accessing the market. Just remember to play in licensed gambling sites to avoid online scams.