Online gambling in India - all you need to know

Gambling in India is an ancient pastime that is enjoyed by thousands of people, but despite this fact, most states still prohibit the activity, with a few exceptions. This makes gambling opportunities in India rather limited, but the scenario is now changing! International online gambling sites are presenting unprecedented opportunities to players residing in India, and there seems to be nothing stopping Indians from playing online casino games and betting on sports online. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the legal situation of online gambling in India and tell you all you need to know about the types of games and betting available for Indian players.

Land-based gambling in India

The only federal law that regulates gambling in India is the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which declares gambling to be a crime and prohibits the running of public gambling houses. Despite this central law, each state in India is permitted to enact gambling laws to apply within the territory. For this reason, three states in India – Goa, Daman and Sikkim – currently allow land-based casinos.

When it comes to sports betting, eight states have passed laws that allow horse race betting in licensed courses, given the popularity of this activity. These are Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Meghalaya. On the other hand, in 2013 the Supreme Court judged that cricket betting is not illegal either, and in June 2018, the Law Commission recommended the legalization of sports betting in India. 

So far, Sikkim remains the only State that seems to allow sports betting facilities and that hosts licensed online casinos. Despite (or, we may say, because of) this, there are many illegal gambling activities taking place around the country, some of which are far from being fair and secure.

Sounds confusing? In actually is, and things get even less clear when it comes to online gambling in India.

Is online gambling legal in India?

Sikkim is the only state in India that planned to award online gambling licenses pursuant to the Sikkim Online Gaming Rules 2009. This State can now grant licenses for the running of online lotteries as well as online sports betting, but prohibits locals from accessing online betting shops set up by Golden Gaming, which is the only licensed online betting company in the State!

On the other hand, the State of Maharashtra is the only one that banned online gambling expressly under the Bombay Wager Act. Apart from this state-specific law, there is no other law in India that makes online gambling illegal, and there are no documented cases of citizens having been penalized for gambling with offshore gambling sites.

Should the situation change in the near future, IndiaCasinos will be the first to inform its visitors. But so far, things look very bright for those players who would like to break free of limitations and benefit from an infinite collection of online casino games or sports betting opportunities online!

Online gambling sites in India vs. offshore sites

From the research we’ve conducted, it seems that the only legal Indian gambling sites are those operated by Golden Gaming in Sikkim and a couple of online lottery sites - and still, it seems that locals are prohibited from accessing these sites. However, there are dozens of online gambling sites located and licensed overseas that accept players from India – and this is where things start to get exciting!

Offshore gambling sites present huge opportunities, for the simple reason that they offer a large number of online casino games and/or betting odds on a secure platform. Some of these sites have been operating for over a decade, and are subject to strict regulations in their countries. This makes them very safe when it comes to players’ personal and financial data, and very rewarding in terms of game payouts. It’s also not impossible to find an online casino in Indian rupees to avoid currency and foreign exchange issues (with LeoVegas India and Royal Panda India being two such examples).

Of course, you’ve still got to make sure that the online gambling site you join are legitimate and safe to deposit with, as there are many scam sites out there. That’s why you should check out a couple of online casino reviews, and make sure that the betting site or casino website you’re about to join is licensed by an authoritative body. 

The Indian gambling sites we recommend on our website are licensed either by the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority (or both), two regulatory bodies that impose very strict regulations related to player safety, and that regulate most online casinos catering to various countries in Europe and beyond. You can also check whether a casino is licensed by scrolling down to the bottom of a casino homepage.

How to join an Indian online casino

To join one of these online gambling sites that welcome Indian players, all you need to do is create a player account with a site and start browsing through the games available. You can play casino games for free, or else you may make a deposit and play the games for real money. Any winnings you accumulate will be added to your cash balance, and will be kept safely until you make a withdrawal.

The best Indian online casino would welcome new registrants with a no deposit casino bonus, which will allow you to play free casino games and win real money. Most online gambling sites will also have a welcome offer on first deposit, consisting of bonus money or free spins to use on casino games. When it comes to online betting sites, the registration process will be more or less the same, and you may be offered free bets, cash back or a profit boost as a welcome treat.

That’s it really - once you have your account, you can normally switch between the desktop and mobile version of the casino or betting site whenever you like by entering your username or password. You can now enjoy the variety of games on offer, and look forward to special casino promotions and new games being added every month!

Depositing and withdrawing with online gambling sites

Most players from India find it difficult to deposit with an Indian online casino using their credit card. This is why e-wallets are such a popular choice for Indians – you can transfer some money into your e-wallet (such as PayPal, Skrill or NetEller), then deposit with the online casino using this method. You may also use the same method for withdrawals – this is also the fastest way to withdraw from any online gambling site! 

Online gambling India scenario – our Conclusion

There are still a lot of grey areas with regard to the gambling situation in India. Most laws related to gambling in India are archaic and do not take online gambling opportunities into account. This is likely to change in the near future, but for the moment it means that nothing is preventing players from joining offshore gambling sites and taking advantage of the variety of games and rewards on offer!