Gambling in India can be categorized into what is referred to as a gray area. This means it is in an unclear position regarding the laws and regulations of gambling.
Gambling In India – Is It Legal?
In fact, when it comes to online gambling, it’s even unclear since some of the laws followed are not exclusive to online gambling. They are used to guide online gambling, plus other areas.
However, this doesn’t mean Indians can’t play casino games online or bet on their favorite sport. On the contrary, there are many platforms, such as Mr.Bet, that offer their services to Indians. The lack of proper rules hasn’t deterred the average Indian from enjoying a casino game.
It is approximated that 80% of Indians have gambled, and the country generates at least $60 billion per year from gambling and gambling-related activities. This is possible due to the fact that many Indians visit offshore online casinos to play their games.
Online Gambling in India Legal Framework
First and foremost, you must know that the gambling laws in India are outdated and need to be reviewed. The country still uses the Public Gambling Act of 1867 to guide its gambling industry, which includes online gambling.
Some of the laws meant to guide internet gambling have taken ridiculously long to be clarified. For example, the Maharashtra government was meant to either prohibit or allow the Casinos Act of 1976. After it failed, no further steps were taken to make a final decision on the matter.
Land-Based Gambling – Is It Legal?
The states of Goa and Sikkim have flexible laws guiding land-based gambling. Goa, for instance, has a reputation for its floating gaming establishments.
In Diu, Goa, and Daman, slot machines can be regulated (albeit with some restrictions on the premises that can offer the games). In other areas, betting on lotteries and horse races are the only forms of gambling allowed.
Online Gambling Legislation
All forms of online gambling are technically outlawed. According to the Federal Information Technology Act of 2011, all online gambling activities are illegal.
At least, this is what the law states, but in reality, Indian players can still visit offshore online gambling platforms. Internet service providers in India can prevent offshore online gambling platforms from operating in the country. Still, locals have always found ways to play games and bet using offshore online gambling platforms.
However, not all states have completely banned online gambling activities. The enactment of the Sikkim Online Gaming Regulation Rules started in 2009 saw the state allow for online gambling activities.
While the law was passed in 2009, it wasn’t until 2014 that the first licensed and regulated platform appeared in the state.
Nagaland has also enacted some laws that regulate the online gambling industry. In 2016, the state passed the Prohibition of Gaming and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, which helped distinguish games of skill from gambling. The act was meant to show that skill and gambling were unrelated phenomena.
Sports betting in India does not represent a big part of the gambling industry. According to statistics, sports betting only attracts attention when it comes to activities associated with the country’s history.
For example, during international and major cricket tournaments, many Indians tend to partake in gambling activities.
Unlike online sports betting and casino gaming, lotteries are legalized in India. Betting on lotteries is so widespread in the country that 12 states have land-based lotteries. At the time of writing this guide, there is only one locally licensed platform to offer lottery services.
As already stated, there aren’t any locally licensed online casinos in India, even in the states where online gambling is legal. And when players find an online casino that operates in India, funding an account can prove to be a daunting task. This is because most banks prohibit payments to online casino sites and other gambling platforms.
Furthermore, there is the All India Gaming Federation, which prohibits financial transactions to such websites. Enacted in 2018, the All India Gaming Federation claims such transactions pose a great security threat to the country’s security.
Moreover, the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 states that if an online casino does not support the Indian Ruppe as one of the currencies, then such a platform can be considered a Forex Exchange platform.
Because of such laws, most Indian casino players prefer using alternative payment methods (APMs) such as eWallets and pre-paid card vouchers. Skrill, Neteller, MuchBetter, and many other eWallets are quite popular with Indian players.
Future Prospects of Indian Online Betting
Like many other countries, the Indian gambling industry is growing year in, year out. This growth can be attributed to two main factors; the spread of the Internet throughout the country and the consolidation of the middle class.
When you compare India to developed nations, especially those in the Asian continent that has just industrialized, the number of people gambling is relatively low. However, the possibilities are promising!
Whether the country moves towards a more regulated form of internet gambling in all its states remains to be seen. At the moment, the situation remains unclear.