The current status of casinos in India is somewhat unclear, leading to many concerns and questions. Note that there are no federal laws in India prohibiting the use of online casinos or online gambling. Each state of the country holds the right to ban online gambling and to decide whether or not they want to prohibit gambling. As of now, only a few states have imposed a ban on online casinos. This clearly means that online casinos are legal in most parts of India, with the exception of a small number of states.
History of Gambling in India
For centuries, people have enjoyed carefree gambling in India. These games were played without any gambling laws employed to regulate them, definitely not prohibit them. Upon the arrival of the British, the scenario changed drastically in every facet of life. After the colonization of the entire Indian subcontinent, the British authorities began imposing their own morals on the Indian population. Eventually, they even went on to prohibit gambling in the country in 1867 by enacting the country’s first gambling law. This act was known as ‘The Public Gambling Act of 1867’, the first law in India to prohibit gambling completely.
Fast forward to over 200 years, our government has left the act almost untouched except a few amendments in the colonial law. Unfortunately, the centuries-old law is still in effect in most parts of the country except for a few states that have enacted their own gambling regulations.
Does this law account for online gambling in India? Obviously not. ‘Online’ anything did not exist back in the mid-1800s and so the law has zero rules in terms of online gambling. This is why it is safe to assume that online gambling is legal throughout the country unless stated by the state.
Current Legal Scenario of Online Gambling in India
Gambling via any medium, whether on online casinos or traditional offline arenas, is a growing concern in the Indian parliament. On one hand, members of the parliament support a complete ban on any form of gambling, regardless of the medium. On the other hand, some authorities advocate a legal but regulated gambling scenario in the country to ensure the safety of the players.
Despite numerous meetings and discussions on this issue, the status of gambling still remains unclear. Resultantly, there are no laws in India prohibiting or specifying online gambling that the authorities can underline which outlaws online gambling. In this scenario, it can be safely stated that online gambling is not illegal for the most part but its status is somewhat on the fence. The online gambling spectrum currently exists in a state of neither being legal nor illegal. It all comes down to each state to set its own legislation on online gambling in their jurisdiction.
Regulated gambling has not quite picked up pace in the country yet. Not many states have issued guidelines for gambling. For instance, Maharashtra has prohibited all forms of gambling within state borders. This includes both online and offline gambling. On the other hand, states like Goa, Daman, and Sikkim have legalized gambling in a regulated manner. You can find brick and mortar casinos operating in both states that attract gambling lovers from all over the country as well as the tourists from abroad. Apart from these states and union territories have any rules regarding gambling in any format.
In recent days, numerous online casinos are sprouting across the world and are operational in India, it is necessary for the center or states to provide clear federal legislation that can clarify the status of whether online gambling is legal or not. Until that happens, gambling in India will remain in a confusing stage.
If you fancy gambling, especially online, then you don’t need to worry about the legalities. You are in your full legal right to do so unless you don’t live in one of the states where online gambling is banned.
FAQ About Online Gambling Legalities
- Can I get arrested for online gambling in India?
To this day no individual has ever been prosecuted or even accused of offense for online gambling in India. It cannot be said that it will never happen no matter what but is very unlikely to happen. Online gambling laws are currently on the fence and are decidedly unclear. This has made it very confusing even for the authorities to charge someone with online gambling when it is not clearly considered illegal.
- Is it legal to withdraw my winnings at an online casino?
Yes, you can legally withdraw the money you have won on online casinos. However, in the future, once online gambling is well regulated in India, you may need to pay tax on your winnings. Although currently, you can cash out your winnings without any taxations.
- Best and legal method to make transactions on an online casino?
All transaction methods are completely legal for online casinos. However, you might face some issues while using certain deposit methods such as bank cards and eWallets like Skrill and Neteller because these have various limitations. Some easier methods are Paytm, Astropay Card, Instant online bank transfer, UPI, and more.