Is Online Casino Legal in India?

India is a country of more than a billion people and there are diverse cultures and linguistic communities. One of the things that brings people together is sports. Indians love playing and watching sports and Cricket is one of the biggest sports in India.

The legal landscape is a little murky when it comes to online gambling and casino games. So if you are keen to play casino games online, you need to be familiar with the legality and the different online casinos that allow online casino gambling. This article will break down the details about whether online casinos are legal in India and where you should be gambling in India.

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Gambling in India has been a long-existing recreation history and the gambling industry is one of the most profitable and booming industries of the country.

Casino Entertainment

There are several online casinos that advertise themselves as gambling sites but are not particularly legal since they do not have the necessary licenses. However, if you do some research, you can find plenty of perfectly legal online casinos that allow gamblers to play online.

While Indian law continues to remain divided on its stance on online casinos in India, you can definitely find a trusted online casino that complies with Indian gambling laws.

Some people want to ban online gambling, but India is a federal country, so it is difficult to navigate Indian gambling laws because there are variations at the centre and state levels. Online gambling generally means playing different online casino games on various online casinos that help you earn money.

Now is that legal in India? Yes! That is in fact currently legal in India. We can say this because there are no current laws that prohibit online casino gambling since gambling is a state subject. This means that individual Indian states shall decide the gambling laws in their respective states.

The legal grey area is hard to make sense of, but remember that if you are gambling virtually, you are perfectly within your rights. So if anyone tells you online gambling is illegal in India, tell them that the Indian government has passed no such law that explicitly regulates the online casino space. However, please note that we are no legal experts, so if you have any legal questions, you should talk to a lawyer.

What is the Public Gambling Act of 1867?

If you need some context about betting laws in India, you must start with the Public Gambling Act of 1867.

The government passed this law to prohibit public gambling in the country strictly. To summarize, the act forbids running any public gambling house by an individual or an organization. Furthermore, anyone who is found to be running a public gambling house can be fined or imprisoned.

It is important to remember that this act is archaic and vaguely worded and in no way prohibits online casino gambling. Therefore, online casinos do not consider this one of the laws that they violate. This gives online casinos further legitimacy in the legal context.

Does the ITA Act Prohibit Gambling?

When it comes to gambling laws, many people seem to believe that the Information Technology Act (ITA) of 2000 is one of the gambling laws they should be cognizant of. However, we are here to tell you that it is not a law that you need to worry about in the online gambling space.

The Indian government introduced the ITA in 2000. The aim of the law is to deal with electronic commerce and cybercrime. Any crimes, fraud or malicious activity that occurs in a virtual environment is regulated by the ITA in India. For example, if you were to harass someone online or commit a debit card theft virtually, it would fall under the ambit of the ITA.

The good news for online gambling enthusiasts is, that the ITA does not say anything about the legality of online gambling or online sports betting. You are at full liberty to play on any gambling site without being in violation of this law.

The ITA only outlines punishments for crimes committed on the internet but it does not say that online gambling is a crime. Therefore, online gambling is definitely not considered illegal according to this law.

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How to Navigate the Different State Gambling Laws?

Like we pointed out before, gambling is a state subject. This essentially means that the legality of online gambling can change for you, depending on which state you are playing in. If you are wondering “Is online casino legal in my state?”, we highly recommend checking out the regulations in your state before you begin online betting of any kind.

We understand that it can be hard to find the right information, but usually, every state has a dedicated website where you can find the respective regulations for online gambling.

As we already stated, a few states like Sikkim, Goa and Daman allow casinos but it remains prohibited in most states. If you do not live in one of these states, you can still play in an online casino or on a gambling site.

If you do not find accurate information on the State’s website, we recommend contacting a legal expert to find out if online betting and gambling is permitted in your State.

Gambling in Physical Casinos vs. Gambling in Online Casinos

For Indian players, this is a tough decision to make. On one hand, in a physical casino, you get the ambience of a real casino, get to interact in person with other players and enjoy the experience of live casino games. On the other hand, with legal online casinos, you can play a variety of favorite casino games from the comfort of your home and earn money while never leaving your couch.

However, for Indian players, the option of playing in a live casino is severely limited. Unless you are ready to make a trip to the states we mentioned earlier, it is not possible for you to visit a live casino since it probably doesn’t exist in your State. Therefore, this is a major point in favour of an online casino, which lets you play from anywhere.

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Now that we have answered your “Is online casino legal?” question, you do not have to worry about the legality of casino games online.

Online casinos often tend to offer a major welcome bonus, which is an attractive incentive for you to sign up and place bets online. Even if you are not great at online gaming, with the substantial welcome bonus and an attractive VIP program, signing up on an online casino will definitely pay off for you.

Other than this welcome bonus, there are several bonuses that are offered by an online casino. But enough about bonuses, what about the risks of a welcome bonus or any other bonus offer for already registered players?

Many experts claim that gambling in a live casino has more potential of fueling a gambling addiction than online gambling. This is because online gambling companies offer more checks and controls.

Besides that, some online casinos also allow for betting at lower limits which reduce the risk of you losing a lot of money. Especially if you are a newbie, you can start with a small bet or a few small bets in different online casino games to get a feel of them.

We therefore highly recommend trying out a legal online casino before you try your luck at live casino games in a live casino.

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Game of Skill vs. Game of Chance

Like many other countries, India also classifies games into two broad categories – games of skill and games of chance. Let’s look at what these two categories are in some more detail.

  • Games of chance are those games in which the outcome depends on pure luck of the players involved. It is randomized and although players use their skills, the outcome of the game mostly depends on chance or luck. Online casino games like Blackjack and Roulette are classic examples of this.
  • Games of skill are those in which players win or lose based on their skills. The outcome, in this case, depends on how well the player is able to play. Luck does not factor into it to a great extent. For example, online casino games like Teen Patti and rummy will be considered under this category.

The courts in India have struggled when it comes to making this distinction. This is why the courts usually make a decision on a case by case basis.

In the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. K. Satyanarayana (1968), the Supreme Court of India compared the game of ‘Teen Patti’ against the game of ‘Rummy’ and decided that the former had an element of chance or luck but the latter is purely based on the player’s performance.

According to the legal landscape on online betting, Indian players are allowed to bet on games of skill but not on games of chance. This is why in India, betting on a game of chance will be adjudged illegal.

Brief Overview of the Gambling Laws in India

For Indian players, here’s an overview of the different gambling laws in India before you participate in a gambling site or sports betting site. We have previously spoken about the Public Gambling Act of 1867 which clearly does not pose any legal threat to a virtual casino.

When it comes to sports betting, the Supreme Court Dr decided in the case of KR Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu that horse racing, golf, rummy etc, are all games of skill. Similarly, cricket betting cannot be adjudged illegal under the same concept.

In states like Sikkim, which has taken the initiative to legalise sports betting, you can secure a license for betting on sports like cricket, football, hockey etc. We hope this helps clear up the grey area of the legal landscape around online casino in India.

When it comes to betting on the internet or online casino platforms, the space is a little less regulated and therefore, more popular. This is why plenty of people sign up and bet every day on an online casino without any legal hassle.

The ITA does not prohibit online gambling or betting in any form so a virtual casino can operate without a glitch. The only requirement for the casino to operate is to have the necessary license from the relevant authority and provide players full knowledge of its services.

Conclusion

If you ended up on our website looking for some important answers about gambling in India, you made the right decision before making that first deposit in an online casino or at various online casinos.

The main takeaway from this article is that whether you enjoy casino games or want to try out sports betting, you can do so without worrying about any legal consequences. As long as you are using Indian Rupees to gamble on online casinos sites, even if they are foreign, you should be good.

So go ahead and sign up on a betting website, enjoy the generous welcome bonus, places your bet(s) and collect your winnings. You will not have to face any grief from the government for signing up for an online gambling website.

There are a very limited number of offences committed by gamblers that can get them in trouble, which include public gambling. Therefore you do not need to worry about gambling online on a casino website from India or online casinos sites from other countries.