Gambling online in India can be quite puzzling if you aren’t sure what the laws are. With over a billion people living in the country, India represents arguably one of the biggest markets in the world for online casino operators. It is no surprise then that many go out of their way to cater to Indian players. They operate within a jumble of laws, mostly in a grey-zone. Where does that leave Indian players, then? On this page, we’ll look at those confusing Indian gambling laws.
Is Online Gambling Legal in India?
Yes and no. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that India’s Public Gambling Act of 1867 makes absolutely no reference to online gambling. It was published about 140 years before the internet was readily available in the country. There is one more bit of information which is worth looking at, though.
The Information Technology Act of 2000 states that the Indian Government has the power to request ISPs (internet service providers) to block some foreign websites and that there could be offences and punishments for certain illegal online activities. However, the act does not specifically mention online gambling.
The general theory is that each Indian state has the power to legislate for itself, in relation to online gambling. In Maharashtra, for instance, gambling online is totally forbidden. However, over in Sikkim, the local authority hands out licenses to operators within the state. What about the rest of Indian, you ask?
For most of India, online gambling falls under a grey zone. It is neither legal nor illegal to offer services to Indian players. Nor is it legal or illegal to play at online casinos which operate offshore.
India Online Casinos
You are probably best staying away from local Indian online casinos. The Public Gambling Act is still in force, and that prohibits Indian operators from providing any sort of gambling services to players – including, presumably, online ones. However, there is no real certainty to this law. Unless you are living in Sikkim, you are best off visiting offshore casinos which cater to Indian players. You will find no shortage of those of late.
Offshore Casino Sites for Indian Players
Because the Indian gambling sector is quite open to foreign operators (at the time being), many of the more prominent names in the industry have been keen to get involved. You will find that some of the biggest and most notable online casinos cater to players in India. They often do so, using the Indian rupee (INR) currency, and in both English and Hindi. Where Hindi isn’t offered, English most certainly is. These offshore casinos can also provide bonuses which can only be claimed by players in India, and Indian-specific customer support options have been noted at such sites.
There is no Indian law currently in force which prohibits betting at an offshore casino. Even the best sites, which claim to be Indian casinos (and only accept Indian players) are usually licensed and based offshore. Moreover, the Indian Government has not implemented ISP blocks on these sites, which means that players in the country do not necessarily need to switch on a VPN (virtual private network) to play their favourite games at these sites.
Is Anything Likely to Change in the Future?
There is always work afoot to change the gambling laws in India. The direction of those changes often swings both ways. Recently, there has been a bit of a push towards legalising online gambling. In theory, all states already have the power to declare one way or another, but few have chosen to make a real stance.
One of the main issues with a nationwide piece of legislation is that some states (such as those with large Muslim populations) forbid gambling, and others are concerned about responsible and problem gambling issues. This means that Indian will likely persist with the status quo for the foreseeable future. In short, you can play online at offshore casinos, or opt to play at Indian casinos provided they are licensed by the state you reside in.
Top Indian Casino Sites
As mentioned, there aren’t really any proper Indian online casinos. Instead, these sites generally tend to be based offshore. Even so, some operate in such a way that you would never know that they aren’t true Indian casinos. They offer gameplay in Hindi and English, provide Indian customer support numbers and e-mails, and accept the Indian rupee. Some even accept specialised Indian bank payment methods, and this really makes the locals feel at home.
On this page, you will find a plethora of these top offshore casinos which offer gaming to players in India. Given the current Indian online gambling laws, all these sites do so within the framework of what is legal in India. As such, you can feel free to play at any of them, as all come highly recommended.