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The Legalities of Online Betting in India: What You Need to Know

One of the fastest-growing markets for online betting and bookmakers is India. Numerous Indians bet on sports on an annual basis. Over 370 million Indians, according to a report from the previous year, bet on important sporting events like the Indian Premier League. Do these individuals engage in legitimate online gambling in India based on that number? If you are unclear about how betting is allowed in India, continue reading because we have the answers you are looking for!

Various Types of Gambling and Their Legality

  1. Casino Gambling

The Public Gaming Act regulates betting at casinos since it is beyond the legal definition of “gambling” and is lawful. Only two states, Goa and Sikkim, have, however, partially legalized casino gaming, and in those two, only five-star hotels are eligible to apply for state-approved licenses. Gambling in casinos on board an offshore ship is also permitted in Goa.

  • Betting on cricket

Despite the fact that there are no gambling regulations that explicitly forbid Indians from betting on cricket, the Central Government views gambling as a game of chance rather than skill (as in horse racing). Following the 2013 spot-fixing incident, the Law Commission advised the Central Government to legalise betting in India, but with strict regulations. Stop money laundering was the key motivation behind this.

However, because online gambling is a worldwide industry and Indian legislation does not apply to foreign websites, the government has put in place several measures to make it challenging to use these websites.

  • Poker

For the purposes of Gaming Enactments, it is commonly considered that some varieties or variations of poker are games of skill rather than chance. As a result, these games are and ought to be allowed in accordance with the Indian States (to the degree that they count as games of skill).

Poker is officially categorised as a skill game under the Nagaland Act. Poker has also been expressly excluded by the State of West Bengal from the definition of “gambling” under the West Bengal Gambling and Prize Competitions Act of 1957. According to the Karnataka High Court, the Karnataka Police Act, 1963 does not require a license when poker is played as a game of skill. However, the High Court of Gujarat has ruled that poker is a game of chance and is thus now illegal in the state.

  • Lotteries

Government lotteries are governed by the Central Lotteries (Regulation) Act of 1998. The law gives state governments the right to run lotteries and to create rules and regulations, as long as they don’t interfere with or go against the Central Lotteries law. It is prohibited to draw more than one lottery every week. However, several Indian states have been given permission to build a large number of lottery terminals where drawings occur even every 15 minutes. One such well-liked state is Sikkim, which is renowned for its gambling facilities and regulatory structure. In accordance with the seventh schedule of the Constitution, Sikkim is free to enact its own gaming regulations and is thus exempt from the Central Lotteries Act.

According to the Lotteries Regulation Act of 1998, state governments have the authority to approve lotteries within their borders and to set the associated tax regulations. In India, for instance, taxes may be automatically deducted from a player’s earnings when they play poker online.


In India, there is no explicit legislation that controls betting and gaming. A suitable law must be passed to control gambling and betting in order to safeguard the public from the negative impacts of these activities and to improve transparency. There are several gambling websites that accept bets from all Indian states, and as they fall within the jurisdiction of UK gambling regulations, nothing can be done about it.

Offshore businesses now take advantage of this loophole because there is no explicit regulation in India that forbids online betting. The Information Technology Act of 2000 governs online activities in India but omits the words “gambling” or “betting,” leaving it up to the courts to interpret. Sports must be protected at all costs in order to maintain their allure and integrity.

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