India Online Casino Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in India

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in India
  • Gambling authorities in India
  • Online casinos in India
  • and more

Flag of IndiaIndia is without a shadow of a doubt, a country where gambling activities in all forms are widely popular. The population exceeds one billion and it is not a surprise why there are so many kinds of games on the territory of the country as well as a great number of people who really enjoy taking part in sports betting or casino games.

However, the high demand for various gambling options does not mean all of them are legal. In point of fact, most of them are prohibited and the games that are available on the regulated markets are few. The majority of states are reluctant to legalize gambling and people familiar with the matter reassure that Indian gambling laws need to be reviewed, updated and made compatible with the fast changing gambling environment. Legislative matters seem to have been be brought to a standstill, especially the legalization of online gambling, which has been on the agenda for quite some time.

History of Gambling Regulation in India

Gambling activities in India have long history that dates back to the Great Indian Epic when members of the royal family gained the throne through competing against each other in different games. The one who could not stand a chance against their opponents lost everything – their wealth, title and wife.

The first gambling-related law in India came into force at the beginning of 1867. It is commonly recognized as the Public Gambling Act and initially, it was applicable to the ten states under British ruling but in 1897, it was amended and more states had to adhere to it. The Public Gambling Act was to limit the gambling activities in these states and repress all forms of public gaming with the aim of protecting the residents from the negative influence reckless gambling could lead to. Things remained unchanged since 1950 when India got a statute of republic.

The Act was further amended in 1976 when penalties to those who violate the rules have been clarified. What makes the Public Gambling Act such an important piece of legislation is the fact that it addresses both operators and players.

The Indian Penal Code that came into force in 1860, concerns the lottery games and the laws under which these can be performed. Anyone who violates the law and organizes lottery games different than the state ones at a private house is threatened to spend some time behind the bars and pay a solid fine.

Information Technology Act of 2000 was aimed at clarifying the issue with the transactions carried out through means of electronic communication, commonly recognized as “electronic commerce”. Under the Information Technology Act, popularization of gambling materials likely to have a negative impact on anyone who sees/ hears it, are prohibited.

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Information Technology Rule was implemented in 2011. It was believed to be the final law that prohibits all kinds of online gambling activities in India. It was a federal law, according to which all forms of online gambling activities and publications were to be blocked. However, state authorities had the power to decide how to proceed with the websites blocking. During that time, the state of Sikkim was seeking partners for expanding the online gambling segment of the state.

Back in October 2014, Sikkim officials granted a license to an online gambling operator and the diversification of the online gambling segment was started.

Overview

Gambling Legislation in IndiaGiven the significant number of residents, there are few casinos on the territory of India. They are barely enough for meeting the high demand for casino games. Actually, casinos are not spread throughout the country. They are located in Goa and Sikkim – the two states where gambling has been legalized. The third state that approves of gambling facilities is Daman.

The first casinos in the state of Goa have been established in 1990s when slot machines became available in luxurious hotels. The next milestone for the casino industry in the state was the legalization of table games in river cruise casinos. As for the state of Sikkim, it hosts two casinos and the online gambling options is the other convenience its residents can take advantage of.

Most of the other states have imposed restrictions on casino games. Every state has to determine whether to allow the gambling expansion or not. As a result, the states where it is legal are few and the question about the legalization of gambling activities in India is quite complicated as authorities of each state discuss the matter and clarify the legislative issues.

What is more, there are gambling laws on federal and on state level, which makes the situation even more complex.

Yet, it can be said with certainty that most states approve the lottery and horse racing industries. As already mentioned, every state can define its own laws related to gambling. Gambling on cricket is another pending issue awaiting attention.

Currently, the gambling affairs in India are regulated by the aforementioned Public Gambling Act from 1867. It covers the Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, the Madhya Pradesh, Punjab. According to the Act, participation or organization of public gaming activities are strictly prohibited. However, it is important to note that the Constitution of India allows every state to define which game can be played within its boundaries.

That is the reason why the gambling legislation varies from state to state and there are various regulations and guidelines that prevail in the different states. The Delhi Public Gambling Act of 1955, the West Bengal Gambling and Prize Competitions Act of 1957, the U.P. Gambling Act of 1961, the Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act 1887, the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act 1930 are some of the laws that have been put into force.

Since every Indian state is responsible for establishing its own gambling laws, Goa and Sikkim were the first to adopt the gambling activities. Yet, the laws their residents have to comply with are slightly different from one another.

In the state of Goa, traditional gambling activities are allowed in five star hotels and in offshore vessels but the latter have to acquire a special permission granted by the government bodies.

As for Sikkim, it offers both traditional and online gambling. Speaking of traditional gambling activities, they are allowed under the Sikkim Regulation of Gambling Act 2005. Sikkim regulative bodies allow gambling activities to take place only on certain days. They are also in charge of granting licenses to operators and legalizing land-based gambling houses.

Back in 2008, Sikkim authorities implemented the so-called Online Gaming Regulation Act under which online gambling activities are available. As for the other states, they are yet to legalize remote gambling but the laws they have adopted cause disambiguation as to what kind of activities can be regarded as a form of gambling, what kind of games can be defined as online gambling and what kind of gambling products can be offered in online format.

Online Gambling

Internet Gambling in IndiaFor the time being, there are not Indian online casinos. No online gambling license has been made active so far although Sikkim regulators already granted licenses. In point of fact, the lack of a law intended for setting rules and regulations for online gambling, makes it possible for players to place their bets on other markets that accept Indian players.

Sikkim is the only state that offers online gambling options to its residents. Under the aforementioned Sikkim Online Gambling Act, games such as baccarat, blackjack, roulette and poker are legalized on the territory of the state. Although Sikkim authorities granted a number of licenses to operators willing to operate within state boundaries, the idea for Indian online casino has not been materialized yet. Alternatively, Indian players are enabled to use the services of other gambling websites that are not hosted in India. Players successfully use certain breaches in the law. Despite the prohibition for online gambling in most of the states, there is not a law that restricts players from placing bets at international websites.

It is important to note that players should opt for an international gambling operator that has a secure website ensuring players’ safety. Indian government attempted at blocking certain international websites but by and large, limiting players’ access was not quite successful.

The future development of the Indian online gambling industry remains unclear due to the various laws states adhere to.

Back in 1999, the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) was introduced. It is related to the foreign currencies and the deposit of Rupees at websites that accept players from India. Basically, the latter is regarded as an exchange of foreign currency. Another issue India-based players can come across is the inability to place a deposit by using their credit cards. In order to avoid inconveniences, the usage of a e-wallet is recommended.

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