Gambling in India: What’s Legal and What’s Not

By | February 10, 2021
Gambling in India: What’s Legal and What’s Not

Last Updated on by Admin LB

The gambling industry continues to grow and spread worldwide. Currently, the global gambling market is already valued at over 227 billion US dollars, and it is still expected to rise in the coming years. Some of the countries that gamble the most are the United States, Ireland, and Australia. However, there is a good chance that India will be joining this list in the future.

When it comes to gambling in India, many are wondering if it is legal. This is even though people know how popular this activity is to the locals. Whether it’s sports betting, Teen Patti, or Indian Rummy, the locals simply love to gamble.

It’s easy to understand why gambling is becoming more prominent in the country. The internet has made it more accessible and easier. People can quickly find casinos and bookies with fast and secure payment methods in India. Still, despite its popularity, many are confused about whether it is legal to gamble in the country.

What You Need to Know if You Want to Gamble in India

The legality of gambling in this country varies by state as each of them is entitled to come up with their laws and regulations for any gambling activities. However, generally, gambling is still illegal in the country except for the states of Goa, Sikkim, and Daman.

You should also know about The Public Gambling Act of 1867, which prohibits the operations of a gambling house in the country. People, who would break this law will, be fined or put to jail for up to three months. If a person is caught visiting an illegal gambling house, he or she will then be fined or imprisoned for up to one month.

Some casinos legally operate in the states of Goa and Sikkim. Casino Sikkim and Casino Mahjong are located in Sikkim. Meanwhile, Goa has 10 casinos, which include four floating casinos in the Mandovi River. This means that if you want to gamble legally inside a casino establishment, you will have to travel to these states.

What About Online Gambling?

Well, the main reason why the gambling industry is continuously growing in India is online casinos. While there are laws in place about general gambling in the country, there is no specific law that prohibits online casinos from offering their services to the locals.

In addition, so, is it legal even if operating online casinos in India is prohibited? It could be legal as long as the casino operator is based on offshore. This means that the locals will have to find online casino sites based in different countries. The only rule that these offshore sites have to follow is that they should offer Indian Rupees as a payment option to their Indian customers.

However, in January of last year, the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have banned all online gambling activities. This means that if you are from either state, you may still have to travel to legally access offshore gambling sites.  If you are caught breaking this new law in the said states, you may be imprisoned for up to one year or be fined.

Indian Gambling in Numbers

It is estimated that the Indian gambling market is worth over 60 billion US dollars annually and half of this is from the illegal market. Based on studies, the locals are huge fans of sports betting and this makes a lot of sense as sports like cricket and football are big in the country.

It is estimated that nearly 375 million US dollars’ worth of bets are placed on a single big match alone. During the 2016 T20 Cricket World Cup, it was estimated that there were nearly 4.4 billion dollars of bets that were placed.

Those numbers show how big the gambling market is and how much India is missing with the lack of gambling regulations. People who have been pushing to have gambling regulated in the country are always pointing out how big the industry could be in economic terms. If taxed effectively, India can benefit from this.

However, there are still people who would argue about the negative effects of legal gambling in the country. Some of them are saying that it could cause huge gambling problems including addiction and corruption.


It is worth taking note that gambling is both legal and illegal in India. The answer will depend on which state you are about. Now, when it comes to whether India will eventually allow most forms of gambling statewide like how it is in the UK, it is hard to say if this will be what the future looks like. There are still plenty of matters to discuss regarding its legislation.

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