If you’re looking for a definitive answer to the question “is betting legal in India?” You’re guaranteed to find it right here with us at Wetten.com.
Currently, most forms of online betting are legal in India. While land-based bookmakers are illegal and there are a few states that enforce their own rules, on the whole – most online betting is legal. If you’re looking for a secure and legal betting site in India, why not take a look at our recommended site – Bet365?
Land-based betting is completely illegal – unfortunate, but at least the law is clear to see and is written in black and white here. The laws when it comes to online gambling are far less clear, as the Public Gambling Act in India was written in 1867, and hasn’t properly been updated or amended since – therefore online gambling has never clearly been mentioned.
However, before we get into the gritty detail, which we’ll keep short and to the essential, so as not to bore you, we’ll start with the positives that you need to know and want to hear. Firstly, there is currently no federal law banning online gambling in India – there’s no mention of it in federal, in fact. It’s therefore left up to individual state governments to take action if they want to ban it. At the time of writing in 2023, only a few Indian states have chosen to do so, with the most recent and populous state to impose online gambling restrictions being Tamil Nadu.
At federal government level, online betting has never explicitly been brought to the table. So basically, where this leaves us is that rather than online betting being legal, it’s more a case of it not being illegal – aside from the handful of aforementioned states. Does this mean that you are exploiting a loophole? No, unless you are in one of the states that has already imposed restrictions you’re doing nothing wrong in the eyes of the law when online gambling. As of 2023, we’ve found no evidence or record of any Indian citizen being prosecuted for online gambling in any way, shape or form. However, you should stay vigilant and keep up to date with both federal law, and the laws where you are.
As we mentioned above, gambling prohibition was first written into law during the colonial period under the Public Gambling Act of 1867. You might think that they might’ve made a few tweaks then – but no, almost a century and a half on and still nothing. There was, of course, no pressing need to mention the prohibition of a gambling avenue that wouldn’t be invented for more than a century and there’s no explicit mention of banning gambling in any way shape or form. The result? Online gambling remains legal in the majority of Indian states in 2023, with many major casino and sports betting sites swooping in on the action. The lack of activity suggests that it’s not a pressing issue for the Indian government, therefore we can assume that the lack of a federal ban should be likely to continue – though we can never be 100% certain of the future!
Has the Indian government completely omitted any mention of gambling legislation since 1867? Not exactly. In 1950, the constitution of India was introduced, handing certainly legislative powers and decisions to individual state governments. Within the constitution, it is written that state governments are allowed to create their own gambling laws. By leaving it at that, the federal government has effectively left online gambling laws entirely up to individual states.
Yes, many have – perhaps more than people realise. While only a handful of states have imposed an outright ban on gambling, some have just outlined some rules and mild restrictions. Some states, including have restricted winnings to only being permitted on games of skill. At the more progressive end of the scale, the state of Sikkim has legalised sports betting and is reportedly giving out gambling licenses. In the majority of Indian states, there has yet to be any action taken either way with regard to online gambling, which leaves it as a non-prosecutable offense.
As we mentioned above, Maharashtra and a number of other states have permitted forms of gambling on games of skill, not games of luck. However, that might very well leave you thinking where the boundary between skill and luck lies. On a philosophical level, that’s a question that could spark endless debate, but let’s take a look at how some Indian states have interpreted it.
Most states with this implementation go by the standard definition of skill games being those which the players ability can influence the outcome – games of luck are pure games of chance. Effectively, this prohibits online casino games in India, as slot games and roulette are, no matter how much you study them, always games of chance. There is a stronger argument for sports betting being a game of skill, as studying the ins and outs of the sport can give you knowledge that will increase your chances of winning.
Perhaps surprisingly, yes some actually do make this distinction and while online casino games are banned, they do permit legal betting sites in India for sports wagering. It’s not the case everywhere but generally, sports betting is looked upon more favourably than online casino games. This is especially true for horse racing, even at the federal level which we’ll explain more about below.
In 1996, the Supreme Court of India ruled that horse betting is based on player skill as well as luck. As such, it was no longer deemed to be illegal under the Public Gambling Act of 1867, the 1888 Police Act or the Gaming Act of 1930. As such horse racing is legal throughout Indian unless state governments choose to outlaw it within their jurisdictions. Horse racing has therefore gained a lot of popularity in India since 1996 and there are plenty of legal betting sites in India for horse racing. There are 9 racecourses in India in 2023 all of which are managed by the Turf Association of India (TAI), a regulatory body that is also responsible for managing trackside bookmakers and parimutuel betting booths. In addition, the TAI also organises a number of big events on the Indian racing calendar.
Is the same logic of horse race betting being a game of skill also applied to wagering on other sports such as cricket? In reality yes, of course, it is, but not in the eyes of the Indian Supreme Court or federal government. You could be forgiven for think that this is contradictory and somewhat nonsensical, and on a logical level, it definitely is. However, the exception made for horse racing is due to the sport’s dependency on betting – basically, a betting ban on horses would spell the end for the Indian horse racing industry as a whole. As we have mentioned before, there are legal betting sites in India – in some states at least – however, the most widespread legal sports betting avenue is still at the race tracks.
So we’ve done our best to give you broken down and detailed answers to the question, is betting legal in India? In doing so, we’ve discovered that it is in many states – or at least, it’s not explicitly illegal. Therefore, there are many legal betting sites in India that operate and offer some form of gambling services. Below, we’ve taken a look at some of the best ones that are available to Indian customers in 2023.
Due to the lack of clarity when it comes to Indian gambling laws, pretty much all of the legal betting sites in India are provided by foreign operators. The laws mean that major betting operators are apprehensive about having a headquarters or even a base in India, and there is little in the way of betting start-ups in the country. The state of Sikkim has amended its law to permit gambling license, however, the uptake has been slow to the point of being almost non-existent. The likelihood is that gambling companies are waiting for a change in the law at a federal level or more deceitful action on gambling legislation in other states. Not to worry, however, as there are plenty of foreign sites that are open to and even cater actively to Indian companies.
Having noticed the legal betting situation in India as well as the appetite many Indians have for gambling on cricket and many other sports, most of the worlds biggest online sports betting companies have now included India in their jurisdictions. As well as just offering Indian bettors the chance to open accounts and bet on their favourite sports, they’ve also extended their bonus offers, including sign-up offers, free bets and much, much more. In addition to the betting giants now available in India, such as Betway, Bet365 and Unibet there are some smaller, but still, well-established online sports betting sites including Funbet, LeoVegas and ComeOn.
Most of the sites have their bases in Europe, usually in Malta, Gibraltar or the UK, while some others are run out of the Caribbean or Macau. As such, the prices and bonuses often appear in Euros (€) or whatever their more commonly used currency may be. As a result, Indian players are sometimes stuck with conversion rates and fees. More and more online sports betting sites are, however, starting to offer deposits and bonuses in Indian rupees.
Is betting legal in India when it comes to casino sites? Although casino games are looked upon less favourably by many Indian state governments, online casino sites are technically still legal to play in most of India. Therefore, as is the case with sports betting sites, there are plenty of top names from the casino world available here, including Casumo, Betway Vegas and Genesis.
So there you have it, and we hope we’ve been able to give you a definitive and helpful answer to a question which is more complicated than you might first have thought. To summarize though, online betting is legal in the majority of India due to the lack of legislation preventing it. However a number of states do have rules in place, so be sure to double-check the regulations where you are. If betting is legal where you are then go ahead and wager online safely and responsibly.
The legality of betting in India is actually a more complicated question than you might first think. This is because there are differences and crossovers when it comes to federal laws, state laws and some past Indian Supreme Court rulings. There is, therefore, no short answer that we can note down here. We have, however, had our experts write a broken down and detailed guide to legal online betting in India, which you can find by clicking here.
There are now a number of global sports betting and casino sites that offer their services here in India, in fact, there are too many to list right here. However, the experts at Wetten.com India have created an extensive top 10 list, with links to full reviews of each one. You can find this here in our top 10 Indian betting sites.
The short answer to this question is that betting horse racing is treated differently than betting on other sports – for example, cricket. To find out more about why and the ins and outs of the law regarding horse race betting, check out our detailed explanation here at Wetten.com India edition.
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