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Is online gambling regulated in India? Read our article and learn how India controls online gambling activity and betting in the market.
How is Online Gambling Regulated in India?
India is the second-biggest country in the world in terms of population. Millions of people everyday use the internet to have fun. For the most part, the entertainment industry in India is thriving. However, one must ask a question – what about casino entertainment?
As a country, India has strict laws for local land-based gambling. Moreover, in recent years, the field of online gambling evolved. Now millions of people turn to casino games on their phones every day. Studies suggest that mobile gaming will expand even more in the next few years. But what about their online gambling laws? Who oversees the legal aspect of that?
We will see shortly how India controls and regulates online gambling activities within the state.
General Gambling Rules
Gambling is a very controversial branch of entertainment in almost all countries. Playing games for money in casinos is a delicate form of recreation, mostly because of its addictive nature. That is why most countries in the world imposed very rigid rules that apply to gambling. And India is no exception.
However, the laws that exist in other countries are different from those of India. For example, India does have strict regulations for gambling – but only land-based gambling.
Namely, the main source to which all citizens of India refer to when it comes to gambling is the Public Gaming Act of 1867. Despite being quite old, the Act is still in place. India brought the Act during British rule. When it was first introduced, it applied to 10 Indian states. Over the years, the government expanded the Act to apply to all Indian states.
According to the Act, citizens are strictly prohibited from visiting venues where gambling takes place. They cannot even own nor operate such platforms. These laws apply both on the federal and state levels. Currently, most Indian states strictly prohibit all forms of gambling, except for two states.
The Online Loophole
Although the situation with land-based gambling is strict, there is no mention of online gambling in the Act. Presumably, the main reason for this is that the Act is quite old, and virtual gaming did not exist back then. So now, essentially, online operators do not have strict restrictions that prevent them from accepting players from India. Plus, players that enjoy playing digital casino games have no obstacles in terms of literal law. They can play games in online casinos without worrying about the potential legal implications.
Thanks to this loophole, online operators have a chance to offer their services in this country. They are not without obstacles, though. They do have several stipulations and rules to follow so that they could appear in this market.
Namely, foreign online casino brands that wish to expand their business in India can do so only if they own a license from a valid regulator. For example, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is an online gambling regulator that covers the UK market. Casinos that own a license from this regulator can enter the Indian market and accept Indian players.
Modern Online Gambling Regulations
As we mentioned, states in India have control over the presence of online gambling and regulation. If the state wants to legalize gambling, their governments have full rights to do so. For example, the Sikkim state legalized online gambling. The government does not have an independent regulator but instead has the power to issue licenses by itself.
The first brand that received a license in the Sikkim state is Future Gaming Solutions Private Limited. Other states like Goa took significant steps towards legalization of online gambling as well. Given the scope of this entertainment sector, it is only a matter of time before more states follow suit.
Possibilities for the Future
Given the speed and breadth of development of gaming in India, there is no doubt India will soon introduce new gambling laws. It is almost necessary to do so, as digital gaming is a significant part of gaming in India.
Furthermore, it would be wise to legalize online gambling to prevent illegal gambling activities. By introducing strict laws, the country can prevent malversations and rogue operators from harming the players.
There is also the question of revenue. Right now, India is one of the most sought-after countries for online gaming. India-facing online casino operators willing to do business must pay massive taxes to keep working. By introducing licenses, the state puts a frame to the gambling activities, simultaneously protecting the players and securing revenue share of the colossal profits from online gambling.