Online Gambling in India – What is the Legal Position?

By | March 17, 2020
Online Gambling in India - What is the Legal Position

There is no doubt that online gambling is a popular activity in India. Although technically there is no regulation of the activity to state whether it’s legal or illegal. The Indian government has not taken decisive action on this matter lately, and it seems as though the issue is being left to individual states to decide upon.

However, most states have also left the matter open. This means that players enjoy betting on sports like cricket and place wagers on live casino games like blackjack and roulette without interference from legal authorities. In fact, the practice only seems to be growing in popularity.

Why is the legal position regarding online gambling not defined?

The only legislation which refers directly to gambling in India is The Public Gaming Act of 1867. It’s this act which makes land-based casinos illegal in India except for in three states; Goa, Daman and Sikkim. Obviously, this legislation makes no reference to online gambling as the Internet was not even thought of when the law was created. This means that this law cannot in itself be used to outlaw the use of online casinos and betting sites in India.

It’s a completely outdated law that does not make the situation surrounding online casinos very clear. The exceptions to gambling laws being outdated are the states of Maharashtra and Sikkim.

In Maharashtra, any form of online gambling is prohibited. In Sikkim, the state government has the ability to award licenses to any operator that wants to provide online gambling services within the state.

Outside of these two states, there is no specific regulation concerning online gambling. Although, it has to be said that there is no record of any action being taken against anyone who gambles online and there are millions of Indians who enjoy the activity.

What is the future for the legalization of online gambling in India?

Currently, there is nothing to suggest that any change or addition to The Public Gaming Act of 1867 is in sight. The Information Technology Act of 2000 could potentially be used to curtail online gambling.

As the name suggests, the Act refers to the technology and the online world. However, it does not specifically relate to the subject of online gambling and it does not seem to have been used to any great extent up to this point.

The Indian government does not appear to be in any hurry to take any decisive action and neither do any of the individual states. Although, there are some experts who think that the regulation of online gambling in India makes sense, if only so that the government can secure revenue from it.

For the time being, it seems as though the legality of online gambling in India will remain unregulated. This means that millions of Indians will continue to enjoy the activity of betting and gambling online, except in the state of Maharashtra where these activities are specifically prohibited.

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