Is Betting Legal in India? The answer to this question is not as simple as one would expect it to be. Especially considering the different channels which are now available for betting in India. The laws that govern gambling in India are very old. They were written almost a century and a half ago and may not really be applicable today.
The main act that the Government of India has used against gambling is the Public Gambling Act of 1867. 153 years old, to be exact.
This act refers to gambling rooms or physical ‘gambling dens' where gambling is considered to be illegal. The penalty is a princely fine of Rs. 100 or 1-month in prison or both.
However, when it comes to online betting, there is no law that makes betting online illegal in India. This is the premise on which most of the online betting companies operate. Most of the best and well-known betting companies in the world operate in India and gladly welcome Indian customers on their platforms.
The Indian Premier League, international cricket matches, Kabaddi, and other Indian sporting passions are big earners for all major betting companies now.
🇮🇳 Is Betting Legal in India?
When it comes to online betting, then the simple answer is ‘Yes, online betting is legal in India'. To our knowledge, not a single person has ever been prosecuted in India for online gambling. The reasons for this are twofold. One, as we mentioned earlier, there is no specific law that makes online gambling illegal in India.
Two, most of the betting companies that welcome Indian players register themselves offshore in other countries. The Indian government does not have the means or the incentive to try and gather information from these companies.
Also, legal experts believe that courts may not find an Indian citizen betting online guilty. The countries where these websites are registered are those where gambling is legal. Indian citizens win lotteries in the UAE all the time. Vegas and Macau serve a lot of Indian customers, all of whom certainly get their winnings back when they come back to India!
The betting companies also do everything to protect the identity of their customers. Their business is going to be adversely affected by toeing the government's line. Prominent global names like bet365, betway, 22bet, etc., not only accept Indian customers but also allow them to bet in their own currency.
🇮🇳 Skill vs Luck
The Public Gambling Act distinguishes between games of skill and games of luck. Games of skill are completely legal under this act. This is why Dream11, MyTeam11, or any number of such ‘fantasy sports companies' function with freedom because the courts have judged them to be a game of skill.
🇮🇳 Will Offline Betting be Legal in India?
We believe it is only a matter of time before sports betting becomes legal in India. The attitude around gambling and its regulations is changing. The size of the illegal betting market in India, all offline, is considered to be close to $50 Billion. It attracts the mafia and other such elements that affect law and order. The government also does not earn any tax revenue from such gambling.
Territories like Goa, Sikkim, and Daman have already made gambling legal on casinos that are based within their boundaries. Casinos in these regions contribute massive amounts of revenue to the government that is used for public welfare.
So we believe the landscape of sports betting in India is going to change very soon.
🇮🇳 What should you do?
If you decide to bet online in India, you should go ahead with complete peace of mind and without worrying about anything. People bet online on cricket in India all the time. You should only be careful to use safe and trustworthy websites so that you have a great and enjoyable experience betting online. You can find an overview of the best betting websites vetted by our experts here.