Betting in India
The origins of betting as a leisure activity in India dates back hundreds of years ago. Some of the ancient histories and scriptures of the region mention the existence of betting on various games.
By the time modernity approached and industries became formalised, the British rulers of the region introduced legislation called the Public Gambling Act (1867). That became the legal framework through which all gambling, including sports betting, was to be regulated in the country.
Interestingly, that law prevails to this day and has not been updated since. We will discuss this law in the next section, but for now, let us focus on the betting scene.
Sports betting has always existed in India but it has been a secretive activity with a negative reputation until recently. With the internet, renowned bookmakers from foreign countries started expanding into India. This coincided with the emergence of new sporting competitions that reinvigorated the Indian audiences, particularly the youth.
Regulations in India
The laws and regulations governing online sports betting in India are quite ambiguous. The fact that gambling, which includes casinos as well as sportsbooks, is regulated by the Public Gambling Act (1867) makes them a bit outdated as well.
And even though the law makes it illegal to establish sportsbooks in India, it does not specifically prohibit foreign entities from accepting bets from Indian punters.
As the law was made in the pre-Internet age, the lawmakers could not envision a day when foreign bookmakers could do business in the country. But that day has arrived and there is no provision in the law prohibiting foreign sportsbooks from accepting Indian punters.
As a result, there are many foreign sportsbooks catering to Indian punters today. Some of the biggest global brands offer their services in India and allow betting on Indian sports and leagues including the wildly popular Indian Premier League.
However, homegrown brands fully based in India are almost non-existent because of the law.
Best Bookmakers – The Factors We Use
Before you see our list of the best bookmakers in India, you need to get introduced to the factors we use in our evaluation. This way you can understand and trust our reviews of the different sites.
Markets / Live Betting
The first factor that goes into rating a sports betting site is the range of betting opportunities it provides. The greater the number of markets to bet on, the better. This can stretch from sports with immense mass popularity like cricket and football to more niche sports like golf and table tennis.
The number of betting markets offered is the most important factor when it comes to ranking bookmakers in India. That is because you have to have the opportunity to bet on any of your favourite sports using a betting site.
If the sport of your choice is missing from that option, you wouldn’t be using that particular betting site in the first place. Thus, it is the first non-negotiable condition. Everything else follows on from that.
The live betting opportunities are also considered in the mix. The best sites should open the greatest possible number of events to live betting. It is not totally uncommon to find many bookmakers in India offer a great selection of sports for pre-match betting but not do the same for live betting. That can significantly affect their overall rating.
Along with the extensiveness of markets and live betting options, the odds that a site offers are absolutely central to its appeal towards punters. Simply put, punters will go wherever they get the best odds.
Odds are basically the probabilities assigned by bookmakers in India and elsewhere to the bets they take. The greater the odds attached to an outcome, the lower likelihood of it actually happening.
For example, a bet with odds 1.2 refers to an outcome that is considered more likely than a bet with odds 1.5.
The example uses decimal (a.k.a European odds), a style that is most commonly used by bookmakers in India. They are easier to understand than fractional (British) odds or money line (American) odds.
Odds are so important because they determine the pay-out from bets. It is only fair that those who take the biggest risk should win the highest prize. Therefore, the bigger the odds, the bigger the corresponding pay-out in the event of a win.
Assume that there are two bookmakers in India that have more or less the same betting markets and the same odds, which one would you choose?
The factor that you can see to differentiate between them includes the bonuses and promotional offers given by each. In our rankings, we also look at bonuses and offers to differentiate between comparable bookmakers in India.
Mobile / Design / Usability
As an Indian punter, the majority of your sports betting is likely to take place on online platforms. Furthermore, it is quite likely that one would prefer to use mobile-friendly sites or apps, if that option is available.
This is why user-friendliness, the user interface, navigability, and mobile-friendliness are all important differentiators for modern bookmakers in India. They may all sound synonymous, but rest assured, they are not the same things. Even though most online bookmakers in India have closed the gap in terms of usability and design, the most noteworthy factor is mobile-friendliness. You may find that many of them do not have mobile apps while others do. That is a big and easy differentiator.
However, not having a mobile app does not necessarily mean that a bookmaker is not mobile-friendly. They may have a mobile-friendly site much better in terms of usability and design than the app made by their competitor. Some even use web-based apps!
In this respect, it is important to go into as much detail as possible.
Moreover, there is an element of individual preference as well. You may find a certain bookmaker’s platform to be the most user-friendly, whereas others may think exactly the opposite. We look at user reviews and feedback to take this factor into account.
Payment Methods (Deposit and Withdrawal)
The next factor that we consider is payment methods. It is one of the most important for you to enjoy betting on a certain platform in the long run.
Naturally, you would want the greatest number of options as a matter of convenience. The more options you have, the more flexibility you have as well. Recently, there has been a huge revolution because of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a government initiative launched in 2016. They have enabled the inclusion of multiple payment methods within a single platform.
The good news is, most bookmakers in India allow UPI transactions. Therefore, the differences in the choice of payment methods become less relevant.
That said, there could be payment systems that you actively use and prefer that are not part of the UPI system. In that case, it is worth checking whether other payment methods are also allowed. If so, how many and which ones. This is something we do look very seriously at when reviewing bookmakers in India.
Security and privacy have become a huge issue in the internet world in recent years. Many have become concerned about data leaks, surveillance scandals, etc. This has affected online sports bookmakers as well.
If you are concerned about such things, you will be interested to know what bookmakers are doing to ensure your security. We review the security aspects of bookmakers in India with punters like you in mind. For example, one of the things we like to see is whether the sites sell some or all of your private data to third parties. You will find that many bookmakers in India share your data with third-party partners like software providers, security agencies, etc. but do not sell them commercially. On the other hand, you may find some that do.
As many bookmakers in India are based in Malta or the UK or other similar jurisdictions, you will find that your data is stored in European servers in many cases. This is definitely better than having your data stored in other countries.
The biggest reason why people turn away from brands is poor customer service. This is not just true for bookmakers but a universal truth that applies to all sectors.
Perhaps this is a bit more relevant for betting sites as there can be a lot of issues where significant sums of money are at stake. If such issues are not quickly resolved, you may lose money and lose faith in the site. Therefore, good, responsive, and friendly customer service is a fundamental requirement. We review all bookmakers in India to see what communication channels they offer, how many channels they offer, whether they are 24×7 or not, how quickly they respond, etc.
In our judgement, most of the major online bookmakers in India provide above-average customer service but there are still considerable differences.
Odds Comparison of Bet365 and 888sport
As far as football is concerned, you will find that most bookmakers in India offer you the chance to bet on all the major as well as many minor foreign leagues. The same is true for the bookmakers we are comparing in this section. One is Bet365 and the other is 888sport. Both are well-known international brands based in notable gambling jurisdictions.
For the sake of comparing the odds, let us look at an English Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton. The match is due to take place at Old Trafford, the Manchester United home ground.
We will compare the odds for the simple 1X2 bet for the sake of simplicity. The 1X2 bet is basically where you only wager on the ultimate outcome of the game and nothing else. So, 1 denotes a home win, 2 denotes an away win, and X denotes a draw. At Bet365, the odds for 1, X, and 2 are 1.55, 4.33, and 5.50, respectively. On the other hand, at 888sports, the odds for 1, X, and 2 are 1.57, 4.25, and 5.50, respectively.
As you can see, the numbers are not so distant from each other. Both the bookmakers in India offer pretty much the same kind of odds. However, if you were to bet on the home team, you will win more at 888sports. Whereas, for a draw bet, Bet365 will pay you more. You will make roughly the same for an away win bet.
Odds Comparison Among Indian Bookmakers
Odds are an important way to distinguish between bookmakers in India. Better odds mean more money for your winning bets. The sports and events that you want to bet on will determine which sites have the best odds.
A particular bookmaker may have better odds for cricket than football. A little research may show that there are better football odds at another site. So, it is important to compare odds. That said, do not expect huge differences. For the same sports and events, competing bookmakers in India will have more or less the same odds. Even in the Bet365 vs. 888sport comparison, you can see that the differences are quite small. Expect this level of differences as the norm.
But small differences can add up to a lot in the long run, so do not dismiss them or be indifferent
What Makes a Betting Website Good?
We introduced you to all the factors that we consider when comparing betting sites. But you may ask, what are the benchmarks? How would you know if a site is actually good?
In this section, we will discuss the common attributes that you can find at the best online bookmakers in India. The first thing you will notice is that a good betting site has a wide variety of betting markets. You can bet on mainstream sports like cricket and football. You can also bet on more niche sports like table tennis, darts, and snooker.
The events open for betting from each sport are also much more extensive at the major bookmakers in India. So, for example, you will not only be able to bet on English Premier League games but also second and third division leagues. On the whole, the odds and bonuses the best sites offer will also be better than the rest. They will also perform much better than the rest on all the other parameters. This includes mobile-friendliness, user-friendliness, customer support, etc.
The best bookmakers in India pay a lot of attention to customer support. They will typically have multiple contact methods with at least one or two being 24×7. For the methods that are not 24×7, they will try to ensure the quickest response time possible.
Why Are Bonuses and Promotions Important?
In choosing the ideal site from a long list of bookmakers in India, bonuses and promotions play a huge role. Learn all about them in the sections below.
The Advantages of Bonuses and Promotions
Bonuses and promotions can enhance your betting experience in many ways. From extending extra cash to giving you the chance to explore new sites without initial investment, there are many benefits you can get from them.
For example, you have been recommended a site by a friend or family member and you want to try it. But you are unsure and you do not want to spend your own money. If the site has a no deposit bonus offer, you can try the site without any upfront investment from your end. It is a win-win situation for you. But this is just one example. There are many others.
The specific benefits that you will get from a bonus or promotion will depend on the type of bonus. There are many types of bonuses offered by bookmakers in India. The next section will explain all the major ones in detail.
The most common bonus you will encounter among bookmakers in India is the deposit bonus. You can even think of it in terms of a deposit match bonus. Yes, the sportsbook offers to match your deposit. There is usually a minimum deposit requirement and the deposit is matched only up to a certain amount. So, there is a maximum ceiling as well.
That said, this is a great bonus and can often double your initial betting funds.
Free bets are also a fairly common bonus that bookmakers in India provide. As the name suggests, this bonus involves a certain number of bets that you can make for free. It is as simple as that. But the sportsbook will usually specify the amount and the bet types for which this bonus can be used. They are also generally small in quantity. For instance, they will typically be good enough to place only one bet on most sites.
Now comes the no deposit bonus used as an example earlier. Though not as common as deposit bonuses or free bets, no deposit bonuses are available at several online bookmakers in India. They are a great bonus but come in relatively small amounts.
The concept is simple. You as a new user are given a certain amount to bet with so that you can get familiar with the platform. You can even think of it as a kind of a free trial. Once you like it and want to continue then you have to pay.
In addition to the ones explained above, there are many other bonuses like cashbacks, loyalty bonuses, and referral bonuses. Cashbacks refund a part of your losses. Loyalty bonuses unlock a series of perks and privileges based on your usage of the site. Referral bonuses can be free bets, loyalty points, or practically anything given in exchange for bringing other people to the site.
How to Find the Best Bonus Offer?
Bonus offers are not the same everywhere. They are better in some sites than in others. In order to find the best ones, you can compare sites individually.
You can look up the best bookmakers in India, visit their websites one by one, and evaluate their bonus offers. You will usually find a section called bonuses or promotions or something along those lines in most sportsbooks’ websites. But that is a lot of work as you can probably imagine. The other better alternative available to you is to visit our site where we do all the heavy lifting for you. We review all the bookmakers in India and publish comparisons of their latest bonuses and promotions.
You can simply go through all of them on a single page and make your choice. Some of the factors used to compare and evaluate bonuses have been explained below. You should have basic knowledge about them.
The most important thing about a bonus is the wagering requirement. You may see it referred to as playthrough requirement or turnover requirement as well. They mean the same thing.
Basically, wagering requirements are what you need to do to withdraw your bonus amount or any winnings you generated with it. As the saying goes, there is no free lunch in the world. That is true for sportsbook bonuses as well.
The purpose of bonuses is to make you a long-term user of the site and to get you to spend more money there. Hence, bookmakers in India set a minimum wagering requirement, that is, the minimum amount you need to spend before your bonus amount becomes available for withdrawal.
The minimum odds are an important factor for free bets among other bonuses. When you are given a free bet, you cannot generally use it for any and all bets. There are specific bet types that qualify.
Generally speaking, there will be minimum odds set by the sportsbook. For example, they may say that free bets are only applicable for bets with odds over 1.50.
Minimum odds also play a role in terms of wagering requirements. This is true for all bonuses and not just free bets. Most bookmakers in India will tell you that only bets with over certain minimum odds can be counted towards your wagering requirements.
You should also note that there are time limits to both using your bonus and meeting the playthrough requirements. For example, if you are given a free bet bonus, the sportsbook might set a limit of 7 days within which you have to use that free bet. A similar limit of around 30 days or so could be set for you to meet the wagering requirements.
Therefore, deadlines are an important aspect used to evaluate bonuses. Naturally, you would want the timeframes to be as long as possible. The best bonuses will have generally have more generous deadlines.
Identifying a fair bonus is not an easy task as there are so many terms and conditions that can vary between operators. For instance, you may find a bonus that is not attractive at all but has low playthrough requirements. On the other hand, there is another bonus that is the most lucrative out there but comes with quite high playthrough requirements. Which do you choose?
Sounds like a difficult decision to make, right? Well, the way out of that is to strike a balance. You should generally not choose a bonus where the wagering requirement is beyond your capacity to meet. No matter how attractive or how high it is.
Similarly, you should not choose a bonus simply because it has low wagering requirements while other aspects are not particularly beneficial.
Therefore, a fair bonus is the best available bonus that comes with requirements you can realistically meet. It should have reasonable turnover requirements, a reasonable time window, and other terms and conditions should be manageable as well.
Beware: Bonuses Are Not Everything
Another takeaway from this section on bonuses for you is that they are not everything. It is an important aspect of a sportsbook and can have a major impact on its ratings/rankings. But it is not the only reason why you should choose one.
There are other fundamental aspects like markets, odds, usability, etc. that you should prioritise. If those things are alright, then you should take your comparison to the next level with bonuses.
Online Bookmakers in India
The following is a list of all the bookmakers in India where you can enjoy sports betting.
After having conquered several notable markets in the African region, 22bet has come to become one of the major bookmakers in India. They bring all the benefits they provide for their African punters plus more for Indian punters like you. They have some of the best bonuses both for new users as well as existing ones.
With the Aussie leg-spinning magician Shane Warne as their brand ambassador, the Dafabet sportsbook is one of the most beloved bookmakers in India for cricket among other sports. They have a casino as well and accept Bitcoins for payments. They also boast a range of partnerships with international leagues and competitions, so it is a brand you can definitely trust.
With a decent array of sports betting markets and good welcome bonuses, the Malta-based NEObet site is a simple and easy-to-use sportsbook.
Curacao-based Parimatch is already quite a growing name among bookmakers in India. They offer great bonuses and a large number of betting markets. Almost every major sport and league in India as well as globally is available. They also have casino games if you are in the mood to try something other than sports betting.
With a license from the Malta Gaming Authority, Spin Sports is progressing with the mission to become the premier destination for sports betting in India. Their welcome bonuses and user interface are among the best. Though their focus for India is cricket, you can bet on almost every major non-cricket sporting competition as well.
SELECT.bet is another Curacao based sportsbook where you can bet. The site does have cricket betting options but it is not an area of focus for them. So that might be a bit disappointing. But they can definitely become one of the major bookmakers in India for international competitions like the English Premier League. They also charge in foreign currency so there may be some international transaction fees.
Unibet is also a great option for you if you are into international sports competitions. They are a renowned global name where you can find Indian sports as well. But they are not specifically catering to Indian punters. They also charge in foreign currencies so there may be international fees and conversion charges.
The BetWinner India sportsbook is a great place to sign-up. Simple, one-click registration, great bonuses, a large selection of cricket, football, and other betting markets are just some of the things you can get on their site. A great bonus offer and mobile experience are also included.
In the world of global sports betting, which includes bookmakers in India, the Bet365 brand is a bit hard to miss. They are licensed in Malta and provide services across many countries and regions. They have a simple site full of useful features and good bonuses for you to take advantage of.
Though the Royal Panda name is mostly associated with their online casino, which offers an exception welcome bonus, they also run sports betting markets. Their sports betting markets are 24×7 and available at your fingertips through their mobile site and app. You can bet on all major sports like cricket and football but also UFC, boxing, etc.
The Cyber Bet sportsbook is a Curacao-based site offering great betting opportunities on many international sports. However, they are not fully targeted towards an Indian audience just as yet, so you may find some deficiencies in their cricket betting options. For football and other sports, they offer great odds. They also accept one of the widest varieties of cryptocurrencies.
An excellent site for both cricket and football betting, the 888sports is among the best bookmakers in India. They offer competitive odds and a great user experience. They are licensed in Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory.
Casumo is another Gibraltar-based entity that has recently expanded into the sports betting space. They are already an established casino operator and are now eyeing to make their name among the bookmakers in India. That is why they offer a first-rate welcome bonus, attractive odds, and a user-friendly mobile experience.
The Best Bookmakers in India
Let us now briefly discuss the major betting markets that you can expect from the best Indian bookmakers.
At most of the bookmakers in India, you will find football betting markets. This can include first division leagues like the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, etc. International matches and tournaments are also likely to be available in most places. In fact, you may also find markets for betting on second and third-division European leagues.
You should definitely check out Betonic for all your football betting needs.
Tennis has grown in terms of popularity in India because of its international profile as well as homegrown stars like Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi. Hence, most major bookmakers in India offer betting markets for all major tennis competitions.
Parimatch can be a great place for you to bet on Tennis. They even have live tennis betting.
As many of the bookmakers in India are global brands, they include sports that are niche in India but have a global presence. Basketball is one such sport. Though the sport is growing because of the influence of American culture, it is a niche sport in India. But, if you are a fan, you will not be disappointed as there are plenty of opportunities to bet.
You should definitely consider Spin Sports for great perks and choices in terms of basketball betting.
In addition to basketball, you will find that bookmakers in India have other American sports as well. This includes baseball, American football, and even ice hockey. So, if you are a fan of one or more of these American sports, you will have plenty of options to choose from.
Unibet has the greatest possible selection of American sports betting markets among all the bookmakers in India.
The Esports market has been rising at an incredible speed in recent years. Many bookmakers in India today let you bet on various Esports competitions. You can choose BetWinner for esports betting as it is among the best.
Despite being a niche sport, betting on horse racing has a long history in India. But there is very little for Indian punters to get the real experience anymore. That is why bookmakers in India offer extensive betting opportunities for horse racing happening abroad. So, if you are interested to get involved in horse racing, be sure to give SELECT.bet a shot.
Which Bookmakers Should I Avoid?
As an Indian punter, chances are that the site that you choose will be based offshore. There are no bookmakers in India completely based in India. Thus, you need to be a bit extra careful about choosing the right site in terms of trustworthiness and reliability.
You need to make sure that they are fully licensed and legal in the jurisdiction where they are based. Moreover, you can look at the jurisdiction and get some assurance from there as well. Jurisdictions like the UK, Malta, Curacao, etc. have gambling commissions that are well-known in the online gaming sector. You can trust sites that are based in these places.
In addition to the licensing, you should also do some due diligence in terms of reviews. This includes both user feedback as well as reviews on our site. There are so many bookmakers in India now. It would be hard for you to evaluate each one individually. You can make your life easier by reading as many reviews as you can.
User reviews can be confusing at times but they can be quite revealing as well. You may find extremely positive reviews and extremely negative reviews and become confused. On the other hand, you may become aware of any and all major issues faced by punters on a given site.
For example, if there are sites where several users have complained about withdrawal issues, you can take that into account when making up your mind.
Bookmakers in India FAQ
Some of the most frequently asked questions have been answered below.
The legal status of sports betting in India is a bit ambiguous. There are provisions specifically prohibiting betting on sports online through foreign bookmakers. So, you can bet using any foreign-owned sites that are open to Indian punters.
Odds are the probability of an outcome. They determine the likelihood of a bet winning as well as the returns. Generally speaking, the lower the odds, the higher the likelihood of the outcoming occurring. And the returns can be calculated in most cases by multiplying your wager with odds.
Many global brands now operate sports betting sites in India. Bet365, Casumo, Unibet, 22bet, Betonic, etc. are just some of the brands you can choose from.
You can definitely bet on cricket, the most loved game in India. But there are markets for betting on football, hockey, boxing, UFC, several of the American sports, etc.
A welcome bonus is an incentive provided by online bookmakers to bring you to their site. It comes in many shapes and sizes. You can get a deposit bonus against your first deposit. Or you can get a no deposit bonus or even free bets.
The best way to find the bonus is to follow our site where we gather and compare all the bonuses from online bookmakers. Alternatively, you can check every sports betting website and compare their bonuses one by one, but we do not recommend that at all.
The common terms and conditions attached to bonuses include wagering requirements, time limits, minimum deposit requirements, and maximum bonus amounts. You should always read the terms and conditions before availing a bonus.
You can use our guide to figure out which one can be the best betting site for you. You can use the knowledge gained from here to shortlist a few sites that you would like to deep dive into. Then you can test the select few sites and come to a conclusion about the number one best site for you.
The sign-up process is generally quite simple. You hop on to their website and fill in the registration form. There might be a few extra details like proof of identity, address, and source of funds that may be required to be compliant with the laws.
You can use most of the payment methods you are already familiar with at online bookmakers’ sites. Most accept UPI payments, for example. Increasingly, they are also accepting crypto payments too.
5 Tips – Online Bookmakers
- Evaluate sites based on a combination of factors, not just one or two.
- Go wherever the odds for your favourite games and events are best.
- When you are confused between two sites, choose the one with the better bonuses.
- Stick to sites that accept cryptocurrencies or INR if you want to avoid paying international transaction fees.
- Make sure the sites where you gamble are properly licensed in their jurisdictions.
Summing Up - The best legal online Bookmakers in India
Fortunately, there is no shortage of outstanding online bookmakers in India for punters like you to choose from. Use the knowledge gained from this guide to choose the best site for you and have an immersive online sports betting experience!