India is one of the world’s leading markets for online gambling websites. Today, it’s estimated that 40% of Indians have played in an online casino at least once—thanks to the ever-growing number of online casino operators. Most of these operators rushed to join the Indian online gambling market after realizing that online gambling in India is not affected by the 157-year-old gambling laws. This came with a rocky start, as many Indians had problems with deposits and withdrawals, finding a reputable online casino operator, and concerns about whether online gambling is legal in India. However, online gambling is a leisure activity that millions of Indians love. In fact, it’s one of the country’s cheapest, legal, and possibly profitable forms of entertainment.
What’s Online Gambling?
According to The Constitution of India, gambling is any undertaking or activity whose determination is influenced or controlled by accident or chance or any undertaking or activity that is undertaken or entered into with awareness of the risk of losing or winning. So, online gambling means the use of the internet to place wagers and earn money. Typically, online gambling takes place in a virtual environment, including casino games, poker, and sports betting.
Indians can access online casino websites that accept Indian Rupees without fearing prosecution. Most online casinos in the country accept payment methods like debit cards, credit cards, prepaid cards, cryptocurrencies, and e-wallets.
Has India Legalized Online Gambling?
The Constitution of India has entitled every state to create specific laws governing betting and gambling. However, The Public Gambling Act of 1867 is considered the central enactment on this subject, and it prohibits all games of chance, other than games of skill and lotteries. If you violate any provisions of this law, you can be imprisoned for 3 months or be fined INR 200.
Individual states in India have formulated laws to regulate any form of gambling activity, with most states exempting games of skill. Some states prohibit certain gambling activities, while others, like Sikkim and Goa, have legalized all forms of gambling. Now, it’s been very tricky to determine whether a game falls under the skills or chance category. However, it’s important to note that state-owned lotteries and horse racing are legal.
Please note that the Public Gambling Act has not mentioned online gambling, as it was written before the invention of the internet. However, this has created a loophole—because the law hasn’t mentioned online gambling, it doesn’t forbid it. That means online gambling might not be ‘Legal’ per se—but because it isn’t illegal, the Indian Government doesn’t have a problem with it. This leaves Indian casino players in the clear regarding online gambling.
In 2000, India enacted The Information Technology Act, and it’s believed that it has had an impact on online gambling. The act makes several provisions related to online activities. Besides, this act allows the Indian Government to block foreign gambling websites. And the Government has used this power to persuade Internet Service Providers in the country to prevent Indians from accessing some online casino websites.
How Online Gambling Laws in India Affect Players
The legal situation relating to online gambling in India is somehow complicated. However, it can be clarified through an analysis. Most of the online gambling websites in the country accept Indian players; however, these sites are not governed by Indian laws since they are based in other jurisdictions. These sites can be considered illegal under the current Act in case they are found in contradiction to any of its provisions.
With that said, there are no laws that clearly state whether it’s illegal for Indian residents to play online casino games—except for the State of Maharashtra. While online gambling might be banned in most parts of India, you can still gamble online through a website deemed trustworthy and reputable, accepts Indian customers, and complies with specific state laws governing gambling.
The FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) of 1999 governs the exchange of foreign currencies in India. So, depositing to an online gambling website in any currency other than Indian rupees can be considered an exchange of foreign currencies, meaning this Act covers it. However, there’s no clear and direct provision for the same. So, we can conclude that Indians can bet on any online gambling platform operating in the country without risking being punished.
The only major challenge you might face in India or because of payment portals is that the Reserve Bank of India has instructed online payment platforms and banks not to process any transactions related to online casino platforms.
The Legality of Different Forms of Gambling in India
Gambling in Casinos
The Public Gambling Act of 1867 prohibits gambling in land-based casinos in India. However, Goa and Sikkim states, as well as Daman Union Territory, have legalized gambling. These states have legalized both traditional, land-based casinos as well as floating casinos found on cruise ships.
However, it’s important to note that there are no specific laws governing online gambling in India. But, it’s important to note that online gambling is illegal in India, but Sikkim State has made it legal. That said, Indian residents who play on online gambling sites with licenses from other jurisdictions are not prosecuted. However, most players complain about depositing and withdrawing money from these sites.
The Supreme Court of India ruled that horse racing betting is a game of skill. Because of this, most gaming enactments in the country have made an exception for horse racing betting. However, you should note that there are certain conditions for horse racing for this event to be exempted from the gaming enactments.
The most notable conditions include the following:
- Horse racing betting shall only happen on specific days when there are horse racing events.
- The horse racing event must happen in a venue certified by state governments.
- Turf clubs regulate betting on horses on their premises.
Other than these conditions, independent Turf Clubs also have their own rules.
Online betting on horse racing also requires the conditions of Horse Racing Exemption to be met. Both Calcutta and Bangalore Turf Clubs have been authorized by their State Governments to offer online betting for horse races that happen in Turf Clubs.
There are no laws that strictly prohibit cricket betting in India. But the Indian Government considers cricket betting as a game of chance. After the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, the Law Commission recommended betting be legalized in India and be under stringent control. Preventing money laundering was the main reason behind the recommendation. However, because online gambling is a global venture, the Public Gambling Act of 1867 has zero jurisdiction over gambling websites from other jurisdictions. However, the Indian Government has implemented some practices to ensure that it’s not easy to access these websites.
The legality of poker in India is somewhat delicate. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 doesn’t prohibit games of skill. And, although poker isn’t a game of skill, the Supreme Court rules that it shouldn’t be considered gambling as long as there’s a substantial level of skill involved.
Most players believe that the legality of poker was confirmed in 2013 when a poker club was raided, and both the players and operators were arrested and prosecuted. In the case that ensued, the High Court ruled in favor of the club. The verdict was that poker is a game that requires a considerable amount of skill, meaning it wasn’t illegal for the club to offer poker games.
This means online poker is also a game of skill, making it legal. However, unlike Sikkim State, most states in India don’t issue licenses for online gambling. However, the state has issued very few online gambling licenses. Playing online poker on online gambling sites is not illegal—but accessing these websites and depositing the money has proved to be a challenge for most Indians.
The 1867 Public Gambling Act permitted Indian states to determine the legality of lotteries within their jurisdictions. As such, 12 states have legalized lotteries in land-based casinos. These states include West Bengal, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Manipur, Kerala, Meghalaya, Punjab, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Goa, and Sikkim.
Slots, Blackjack, and Roulette
Casino games, whether land-based or online, are regulated by individual state laws in India. These games are considered games of chance, and most states have declared them illegal. However, the Indian state of Sikkim has legalized casino games like blackjack and roulette—operators must obtain a license, which falls under the provisions of the 2008 Sikkim Act (Sikkim Online Gaming Act). The condition of this license is that these games must be offered online.
In 2021, the State of Meghalaya enacted the Meghalaya Act (Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming), which allows casino operators to obtain a license if they want to offer land-based or online casino games of chance like roulette, slots, keno, and wheel of fortune, among others.
Bingo is considered a game of chance, making it illegal in India. However, the game is possibly legal in states that have legalized gambling. However, there are no reports of any bingo halls operating in the country. For online bingo, on the other hand, it’s not regulated in the country. However, it’s also considered illegal.
Online Gaming Websites in India
We cannot deny that online gaming has become a global phenomenon. And while the Central Government has no jurisdiction over licensed sites that operate under International and European Law, it has taken certain actions to make it harder for Indians to use these sites. The Government has enacted two laws to deal with this, and none of these laws has proved effective.
For instance, some operators in the country are licensed by the Governments of Malta and Curacao and have millions of users globally. These sites are also available in India and support local currency (Indian Rupees) and several Native Indian languages. Indian laws don’t apply to international gambling sites, as they are licensed by other jurisdictions. And, with no advertising, servers, or other activity in the country, the Government cannot do much to stop these websites from operating. As such, Indians can use e-wallets to fund their accounts and play their favorite casino games or place bets on different sports events on these websites.
Online Gambling Tax in India
The Section 115BB of the Indian Income Tax Act explains the tax implications on winnings from any sort of betting or gambling, including lotteries, card games, horse racing, and other games. According to this provision, any amount won attracts a 30% tax without cess. The net tax rate increases when the cess is included to 31.2%.
Although nearly every taxpayer in India seeks tax exemption benefits, none of these benefits apply to income generated from online gambling and betting. Benefits like leave travel, house rent allowance, and home loan rebates, among others, are well detailed under the different sections of the Income Tax Act and are not applicable to the taxable amount of online gambling. Besides, the tax slab rates don’t apply to the income generated from online gambling.
Please note that the tax laws apply to online casino operators too. Thus, gambling websites in India are mandated to follow certain rules when payout out players. Firstly, the tax amount of any single payout exceeding INR 10,000 must be deducted from the source. So, if the payout prize is INR 20,000, the player will receive INR 13,760 because of the 31.2% tax deducted from the source. This, in turn, requires Indian players to file their earnings as tax deducted at the source while filing their annual taxes.
Online gambling websites might sometimes issue physical prizes like cars, mobile phones, laptops, etc. In such cases, the website must pay the tax before the winner gets their prize. The tax amount, in this case, is calculated depending on the market value of the item disbursed.
Best Tax Practices for Indian Punters
Never forget to include the earnings from online gambling when filing your taxes. All online gamblers must disclose their income from online gambling when filing their tax returns. Besides, players are advised to report the exact amount they earned when using an online gambling website when filing their taxes.
As online gambling sites continue gaining popularity in the country, the same number of illegal and fraudulent portals have emerged. Because of this, it’s advisable to ensure you choose a secure gambling website that follows Indian tax laws.
Top Gambling Sites in India
10CRIC aims to be the leading sports betting and gambling website in India. The website was designed with Indian players in mind—and that’s the reason why Indian casino lovers get to enjoy amazing bonuses and promotions.
10CRIC allows Indians to access:
- A wide variety of sports betting markets, particularly cricket
- Very competitive odds on all sports
- Lucrative bonuses
- Amazing online and live casino games
- Convenient payment options
This is one of the leading global brands in online gambling, particularly known for providing the best odds in the betting industry. Interestingly, most websites in India have a big challenge in matching the odds provided by Betway. When searching for the best gambling website in India, you’ll hardly see any other site with fantastic odds, amazing user experience, and sports coverage.
Here’s what makes Betway stand out from other sites in India:
- A wide variety of sports markets, particularly for the most famous sports
- Convenient payment options, most of which are specific to Indians
- The most competitive odds
- A Free Bet Club, where players get free bets anytime
This is one of the few websites in India that offer top-notch casino gambling and sports betting options. In fact, PureWin is one of the best websites for online casino enthusiasts in India to play online Andar Bahar for real money. Moreover, the website offers an amazing sports betting experience, where players get high odds, good sports coverage, and a lot of promotions.
Playing at PureWin allows players to enjoy the following:
- An amazing selection of online and live casino games
- A variety of sports to bet on
- Fast and convenient payment options
- Low deposit limits
Parimatch has an amazing casino platform and sportsbook. So, if you are searching for a great casino website and betting site, you should consider Parimatch. Besides, this is one of the few betting websites in India that focuses on online gambling.
Here are a few features that make Parimatch worth your consideration:
- Amazing odds, which Betway only surpasses
- A fully-fledged online casino with countless casino games
- A variety of bonuses for Indians
- Fast and secure payment options, which are convenient for Indians
- The website provided detailed statistics for all the matches it covers
ComeOn is an amazing platform that offers sports betting and casino. The website has almost everything you need in the world of online gambling. So, whether you are looking for the latest casino games or sports betting options, ComeOn has it all. Moreover, the website has a modern design and is easy to use—making it easier for Indian players to find the casino game or sports betting option they are looking for.
Here are some of the most notable aspects of the website:
- ComeOn covers 300+ unique betting markets, as well as 20+ noteworthy cricket events.
- The website offers high odds, which makes it compete with websites like Betway and Parimatch
- Numerous betting bonuses
- Secure, convenient, and fast payment options
Top Gambling Apps in India
The Betway app deserves the five-star rating it has received from Indians, as its cricket betting options cannot be matched. Moreover, its bet builder is one of the best betting tools you can ever find in the online gambling industry. The app’s usability makes Indians love it—it’s not as demanding as similar apps and doesn’t affect your phone’s performance. The only downside of the Betway App is that you cannot download it directly from the Play Store. However, you can download its APK from the official website.
Although bet365 has built a good reputation in many countries across the world, it’s not that famous in India. However, the exceptional usability and impeccable interface of the bet365 app, combined with the wide variety of sports markets, have put it in the limelight. Most Indians love using the bet365 app because of the excellent online sports betting opportunities, as well as the wide array of live casino games. Based on what bet365 users say, the app has an excellent showcasing of services, features, markets, and overall usage.
The 10CRIC app is exclusively available to Indian players and allows them to access localized betting choices, as well as Indian-specific payment options. Having the 10CRIC app on your phone will allow you to access IPL bets and other notable cricket bets. Players can download the 10CRIC app from the operator’s website, and installing it on the phone is very easy. Generally, the 10CRIC mobile app comes with everything you need to experience a unique betting experience while on the go.
The Parimatch mobile app is considered to be an all-rounder. The app allows Indians to access an online casino, as well as major pre-match and live sports betting markets and virtual sports betting. When you install this app on your phone, you will realize that it covers everything you might need in online gambling.
This app deserves your try—it focuses on the Indian gambling market and doesn’t strain your smartphone’s resources. Please note that your access to live streams will be unlocked immediately after you create an account. Once you do that, you can place bets and watch games simultaneously.
The 1xbet app is the most suitable mobile app for beginner players—thanks to its seamless registration process. One of the most notable highlights of the 1xbet app is the addition of better odds from popular sporting events and tournaments across the world. This makes the 1xbet Apk the most preferred option by cricket punters in India.
The only downside of this app is its size. However, when you look at all the other features, it has everything you could need as a punter. The 1xbet app supports local currency and allows Indians to access live streams. Moreover, the app loads very fast and has various payment options to choose from.
Gambling Complaints in India
The ever-increasing number of online casinos in India has seen a rise in gambling complaints in India. As indicated earlier, betting and gambling are illegal in most parts of India. However, online betting and gambling aren’t restricted. This makes it important for one to know how to file a complaint against an online casino in India.
Unlike offline gambling, where players can easily file a complaint against a casino, most people have a challenge lodging a complaint against gambling websites in India. So, how can you file a gambling complaint in India?
Filing a complaint is easy if the operator is licensed. Otherwise, it’s almost impossible to catch a fraudulent online casino operator. In case you feel like a regulated online casino operator has cheated you, you can file a complaint with MICS.org (Monitor Internet Casinos & Slots), and their trusted team of experts will help you resolve the situation. MICS.org has provided a form that Indians can use to submit their complaints.
To file a gambling complaint with MICS.org, you need to follow these steps:
- Visit https://mics.org/ and then click on the complaints section.
- Next, you will need to provide your details. That is your name, the email address you used to register at the casino, and the user name. Also, you will need to provide the name of the casino’s disputed amount and then describe the issue in detail in the provided box.
- You can submit the complaint after providing these details.
If your gambling complaint is genuine and holds weight, it will be resolved. For this to be possible, you must ensure that your complaint is genuine and has supporting evidence.