Gambling Laws in India

Gambling Laws in India

Indian Gambling market is as big as 60 billion US dollars. In India, gambling as such is in a grey area. While in a few states betting on a few things is allowed, as such on the whole, gambling is illegal.

The Public Gambling Act of 1867

According to this law, visiting a gambling place (whether one gambles or not), operating a place for gambling, assisting the place where gambling takes place, financing gambling and being the owner of gambling is a crime. And for this, there is a penalty of either 200 rupees or three months of imprisonment. However, as such no one has ever been charged under this law.

In India though, skill based games are allowed and one can legally bet on them. The public Gambling act says that skill based games are exempt of the public gambling act, no matter where they are played. This act does not define gambling as such.

In the year, 1957, as a provision to this act, horse betting was deemed as legal. Gambling basically according to law is something which is a matter of luck. And since skill based games require some skill and are not entirely luck based, they cannot fall under the gambling act.

In the year 1968, Rummy was declared as a skill based game. To play rummy, one requires certain level of skills and these skills are in terms of memorizing the fall of cards and thus building up the rummy set. However, on the other hand, poker falls under the grey area. And it should be noted that, games like Teen Patti (flush) & Texas Hold ’em currently are illegal and one cannot gamble on them. Also, horse betting is legal but cricket, which to a large extent requires same level of skills, is deemed illegal.

Status of Lottery and its legality

According to the Central Lotteries regulation act of 1998, state governments are allowed to hold the lottery draws but the results for them should not exceed a week. Today, in many states lottery terminals are available, where lotteries are drawn out every fifteen minutes. The state of Sikkim has licensed Playwin Lotto lottery where, people of multiple states can purchase the tickets using a terminal.

States and the Gambling law authority

In the year 1949, the Indian constitution gave rights to the states to legislate & make policies associated with betting and gambling. As a result of this, 13 states in India have made lotteries legal and 2 states have made a few additional forms of gambling legal. And these additional gambling forms offered by the two states are as follows-

Casino Gambling in the state of Goa: Currently in Goa, slot machines or electronic amusements which include table games played in five star hotels are deemed legal! As of now, there are around seven land-based casinos & several offshore casinos which are legal in Goa.

Gambling In Sikkim: This is the second Indian state where gambling apart from lottery is legal. In this state, it is the state which decides which individuals or businesses would get the licenses to operate the casinos. Sikkim also went ahead and legalized internet gambling. In this, servers are located in the state of Sikkim and players from any part of the country can gamble on casinos, lotteries or sports.

Online gambling websites used by Indians

Currently, there are several international players like Betsson and Betsafe operating in India. These websites accept bets in EUR and USD. Technically, these websites are deemed as illegal under the purview of law; however, no arrests have ever taken place in this matter. Also, for the international websites, the Indian laws are not applicable directly on them, as they have their respective gambling licenses in the jurisdiction where they operate.

As of now, most of the betting which takes place in India is deemed as illegal. However, gambling on horse racing, rummy and lottery is legal. Also, though betting sites which are based out of the country are illegal, the government does not do much about it. Thus, it can be said that, Indian gambling industry currently is operating under a grey cloud.