India’s gambling laws are very complex, with different states imposing restrictions on different products from lottery and skill games to horse racing and cricket. As a general rule of thumb gambling in India is frowned upon and generally legally not allowed. Although, online gambling in India with offshore operators is a different story due to online casinos and betting laws falling into a grey area.
The grey area targets loopholes in anti-gambling laws and allows Indian players casinos bonuses, sports betting, and new games like slots online, and established gambling operators and start-ups are investing big bucks developing in Indian localised sites and apps to gain market share in an increasingly crowded market.
With gambling online at casinos and sportsbooks in India finding its feet at a lightning pace, we explore how and where it is safe to gamble online in India in this article.
About Indian Online Gambling Laws Today
The big question is… is gambling on the internet legal in India? A quick read of Indian gambling laws and you will notice they are vague and dated with regards to online casinos and sports betting sites. This makes sense because many of today’s Indian gambling rules stem from India’s Colonial era when the world wide web was a pipe dream.
So, if there aren’t any explicit online gambling laws, what rules are in place, and what is enforced at the state and national level?
Most still rely on the archaic laws which pertain to India’s Gambling Act 1867, with a few states just starting to update laws which will take some time if US Gambling Laws and Regulation is anything to go by.
India’s Public Gambling Act 1867
In 1867, when Sir John Lawrence was the Viceroy of India the Indian government decided to curb public gambling houses that had been popping up throughout India. To combat this, the Public Gambling Act of 1867 with general gambling regulations was released in India.
A centralised law imposed by the British, India’s Public Gambling Act outlawed and listed penalties for running public gambling houses in India countrywide. By today’s standards, India’s gambling rules and regulations are complex and outdated to the point of being redundant for today’s tech-savvy audience.
However, nowhere in India’s Public Gambling Act laws, which date back either decades or more than a century, does it make any mention of offshore gambling. More specifically and of interest to online gambling fans, under the law, there is nothing that plainly states that online gambling at a gaming company based outside of India is illegal.
Indian State Gambling Laws
Whilst India’s Public Gambling Act 1867 relates to gambling throughout India, each state can amend or adjust gambling laws, both offline and online, at state level. What you will find is that state online gambling laws vary greatly. Although India’s Public Gambling laws are outdated for today’s tech-savvy crowd they should be adhered to when and where possible because if you do get caught you risk a potentially hefty penalty.
Online Gambling Law in Dehli
Generally in India when you want to play casino, poker, or bet on sports finding an online casino or bookmaker site is the best option both in terms of safety, trust and security. Dehli is no different. In Dehli, your best solution is definitely online.
As long as the casino is based outside of India, you’ll have no problem gambling online.
Other forms of sports betting, including Delhi cricket betting, are a little trickier. But luckily placing your bets at online sportsbooks is allowed, as long as the sportsbook is based outside of the country.
Online Gambling Law in Maharashtra
Maharashtra’s gambling laws are rather specific compared to other states. Maharashtra is covered by the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act 1887. That said, it too is extremely outdated and no longer relevant in today’s online world. But, keep watching for updates to the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act of 1887 as things might change.
Again, gambling at online casinos and sportsbooks is allowed, as long as the operator is based outside of India. So US, EU or UK sites are ok if you live in Maharashtra
Online Gambling Law in Karnataka
Gambling in Karnataka is governed by the Karnataka Police Act, 1963. A little like Maharashtra state gambling laws and the Public Gambling Act of 1867, gambling laws in Karnataka are not fit for purpose in today’s increasingly online world.
As with most of India, legal gambling in Karnataka is few and far between. Physical gambling houses in Karnataka are officially banned. Sports betting and lottery are also forbidden.
Essentially, there are no legal Karnataka casinos, although online sites based offshore are once again the loophole in Karnataka. For now at least, because Karnataka authorities have hinted at new state laws banning gambling online or severely restricting gaming activities over the internet.
But it could go the other way, too and It is possible that Karnataka might regulate online gambling at casinos and sportsbooks following in the footsteps of Goa, Kerala, and Sikkim.
As it stands, you can gamble online without breaking the law in Karnataka, as long as you gamble online at a casino, sportsbook, or lottery site based offshore. Because under Karnataka laws, there is nothing that stops you from gambling at an online casino on slots or anything else for that matter!
Online Gambling Law in Tamil Nadu
Since February 2021, you have to be very careful gambling in Tamil Nadu online and offline at land-based gambling dens.
The government decided to amend the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1930)
New laws in Tamil Nadu officially ban gambling with real money online, even if the casino/bookmaker operates an offshore site for operations and tax purposes.
According to the new Tamil amendments, if you are caught gambling at an online casino you could still be fined ₹5000 or serve a short prison term of up to six months in prison.
The Tamil Nadu gambling law updates hold true even if the site is offshore and outside of India for operations and tax purposes.
That’s not to say that keen players don’t find a way around it with VPNs or signing up on the sly. Most offshore sites will still accept players from Tamil Nadu. But be prepared to be penalised if you are caught gambling from Tamil Nadu.