Is Betting Legal in India?

One thing that the Indian citizens thoroughly enjoy is sports. Particularly, cricket, football, hockey and tennis. But they just don’t ‘enjoy’ these sports, they also like betting on them.

Betting has been prevalent in India for years now. Currently, the Indian betting industry is worth billions. However, it wasn’t always like this. Major transitions have taken place in the last couple of years, which has brought the betting industry where it is today.
But what has really changed to have brought this massive influx of yearly revenues from this industry? And what are the current legal issues surrounding betting in India? Is betting legal in India? Read ahead to find out all about it!


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Online Betting in India

Is online betting legal in indiaYes! Betting is no longer limited to land-based casinos or physical betting events. There is an entire world of online betting that some people are yet to explore.

Online betting is the digitized version of land-based betting events. These sportsbooks have been fashioned in a way that allows bettors to place bets on any sports that they like. Since diversity is key, that’s where they are specializing. The majority of these sportsbooks offer sports events like cricket, football,  hockey, tennis, table tennis, ice hockey, volleyball, basketball, motorsports, golf, horse racing, MMA, greyhound racing, handball and many more.

But one issue that crosses everyone’s mind before signing up for an online betting site is whether betting is legal in India. So, without further ado, let us dive into the details of online betting and the laws related to it for bettors in India.


History of Gambling Laws in India

History of Gambling Laws in India

If you have been asking yourself ‘Is gambling legal in India?’ your answer is right here. In short, it’s somewhere in the grey areas.

India has a rich history when it comes to gambling. It can be dated as far back as 7300s BC according to the texts preserved from Ramayana. Although betting started off as a positive recreational activity in India, it began to get out of control in the mid-1800s. This is when the government enacted the Public Gambling Act of 1867. This Act prohibited people from operating gambling businesses and also restricted them from using any gambling facilities.

Fast forward to 1950, new laws for gambling were introduced through the constitution of India. Here, it was specifically mentioned that every state will have the liberty to create its own laws for gambling. This brings us to our next point. If you look up the laws for gambling, you will not come across any federal law which prohibits people from gambling. But the constitution did leave it up to the separate states to make their own laws for gambling.

Are you clear about ‘Is gambling legal in India?’ If not, then keep reading to know more about the current laws.


Current Gambling Laws in India

The current laws for gambling in India is the one which has been stated in its constitution. Individual states will have their own laws to control gambling acts of bettors.

Hence, if you are living in one state and have a friend who is living in another, the laws for gambling will differ for you both. This is because some states have implemented stricter laws, while others have more lenient rules for gambling in India. A good example of this could be the state of Karnataka, where it is allowed to bet on games of skill. Conversely, games of luck are strictly banned in the state. Similar laws have also been implemented for the state of Maharashtra.


Is Online Betting Legal in India?

Is Online sports Betting Legal in IndiaBut is betting legal in India when you do it online? Well, one thing that we are certain of is that the law which prohibits gambling in India, the Public Gaming Act 1867, does not mention anything about online betting.

The Public Gaming Act 1867 only restricts people from operating and using land-based gambling services. It does not specify anything regarding online betting in India. Hence, it can be held that there are no federal laws that prohibit online betting. And as we already know, the constitution has given full freedom to the individual states to create their own laws for gambling. Therefore, online betting will also be regulated in a way that is similar to that of land-based betting.

Still confused about ‘Is betting legal in India?’ Here are some more examples for a better understanding of the law!

For instance, Sikkim is now allowing its citizens to apply for gambling operator licenses. So, if you live in Sikkim and wish to run a sportsbook, you can apply for it under the laws of the state. And not just that, but the state is also trying to implement laws for legalizing online betting in Sikkim.

Apart from Sikkim, the majority of the other states do not have any explicit laws made for online betting. Hence, is betting legal in India? Let us find out more about why the grey area exists for betting with an example. Here’s another example. Tamil Nadu is a state where online betting is neither legal nor illegal as there are no existing laws to regulate it.

Unless and until new laws are made for online betting in India, the existing laws for betting itself will remain as a grey area, open for multiple interpretations. Therefore, since the current laws have not been amended for online betting, it can be said that online betting is legal in India.


Will I be Penalized or Convicted for Online Betting?

Now, you might be wondering if anyone has ever been convicted for having used an online betting site. Thankfully, there are no such reports which indicate that anyone has been convicted or prosecuted for using an online betting site in all of India.


Is Gambling Legal in India When It Comes To Games of Luck & Games of Skill?

The straightforward answer to this is that every state has different laws concerning games of luck and skill. The majority of the states have a prohibition on games of luck. But they are good with games of skill.

But what is the difference between the two? Let’s find out!

Is Gambling Legal in India When It Comes To Games of Luck Games of Skill

Games of Luck

Games of LuckFor games of luck, people are completely dependent on their luck for winning. Whether they lose or win is up to their fate. The bettor does not have any sort of power or skill that they can exercise to win the bet.

This means that it is beyond the bettors’ control to do anything as it will in no way affect the outcome of the bet.

A good example of a game of luck would be roulette. Roulette is a game where the bettor’s luck is dependent on the spinning wheel and the little ball spinning inside it. The ball could fall anywhere. Here, neither you nor anyone else can make the ball stop at the numbers that you have placed your bets on.

So, is gambling legal in India for games of luck? The answer is no.

Games of Skill

Games of Skill sportsbettingFor games of skill, you can influence the outcome as you have some sort of control over how the bet plays out. Here, you can actually work on increasing the chances of you winning the bet.

But how will you increase the probabilities of winning?

Research

The very first step towards placing a bet is that you know enough about the sport you are betting on. If it is a classic game of football, then you must have your research done on the sport. You need to be familiar with all the rules and regulations of the game.

But the research will not only end with the rules of the game. You also have to know every nook and crannies about the performance of each player. Watching old tapes may enable you to have an idea of how every player plays when on the field. This should be enough to gain enough knowledge about the team as well as every individual player in it.

For example, if you are placing a bet on a cricket match between India and Bangladesh, you have to take their previous match histories into account. You will also be required to do thorough research on both the teams and also familiarize yourself with the rules of the game. Only then will you be able to place a bet where you will be increasing your chances of winning by working on your betting skills.

Therefore, is gambling legal in India when it comes to games of skill? The answer is yes!

Weather Conditions

Another aspect that you have control over is the weather condition. Do not worry. For we are not talking about controlling the weather. Rather, we recommend you to look at the videos of players during previous matches when there was a sudden shift in the weather.

Different players react differently to the weather conditions. You have to be careful enough to see if a certain player’s performance deteriorates if there is a sudden shift in the weather. Other factors that could also influence your bet is your ability to calculate the odds and be a pro at the type of bet that you want to place.

For example, if you want to try arbitrage betting, then you will have to read up on it and practice it quite a couple of times. This will 100% give you a better chance at winning than bettors who do not know enough about arbing.


Is Betting Legal in India or Illegal for All Sports?

Is Betting Legal in India or Illegal for All Sports

This is one of the things which has left the bettors confused for most of the part. The laws for similar kinds of sports have not been consistent.

For example, as per the ruling of the Supreme Court of India in 1996, the motion for horse betting being legal was approved. Here, the Supreme Court held that horse racing was a game of skill, and hence, it should be made legal.

However, this made people question the ban on sports like football and cricket. According to them, a similar volume of skill is required to place a bet on the outcomes of a football or a cricket match.


Advantages of Legal Online Betting

We all want to abide by the law. And as long as you follow the gambling laws implemented by your state, you should do just fine.

Now that you have the answer to ‘Is betting legal in India,’ we can now move on to the advantages of betting online legally.

No Worry about Breaking Law

As long as you are abiding by the rules, you do not have to worry about breaking any law. So why not sign up for a site where online betting is legal in India? Maximum states allow Indian bettors to sign up for off-shore betting sites.


Future of Gambling Law in India

Is betting legal in India? Will it be legal in the future?

At the time, it is uncertain whether India will be amending its laws or creating new ones for the future of the gambling industry. But that does not mean that you cannot enjoy gambling in India. Simply follow the state rules and abide by them while betting online.


Frequently Asked Questions

Although we have covered all the topics surrounding the law of betting in India, it is completely understandable if you have more questions. To help you out, we have made a list to answer your most asked question on legal betting in India.

blankIs online betting legal in India?

Yes, as long as you are abiding by the state law for gambling, you are well within the legal rights for people who want to bet. Furthermore, to date, no federal law exists to prohibit the practice of legal online betting in India.

blankWhich ones are the legal betting sites in India?

Any off-shore sportsbook is a legal betting site in India. Therefore if you are wondering ‘Is betting legal in India?’ It is. But only if you sign up for an off-shore betting site.

blankIs there a federal law that restricts online betting in India?

There are no federal laws that prohibit online betting in India. This means, you will not be committing any crime if you sign up for a betting website as there are no laws that forbid it.

blankWhich state is in the process of legalizing online betting in India?

Wondering which country has legalized online betting? You’ll be happy to know that Sikkim is progressing towards legalizing online betting in India.

blankAre online casino games legal in India?

Yes. Similar to sportsbooks, there are no laws in India that prevent people from indulging in online casino games.