India is a huge country and its legal framework can be confusing even to the most dedicated legal experts. In this article, we will tackle everything you need to know about gambling laws in India. From most important laws to local regulations, from games of skill to games of chance – this is the only article you will ever need to learn if gambling is legal or not in your area. After you read it, you’ll be able to play your Teen Patti and Satta Matka, without having a second thought.

The answer to this question is as complex as the gambling laws in India. Gambling in India, at least for the most part is legal and thriving. But, there is one thing to keep in mind – it is mostly regulated on a local level. Still, there are some laws that are applicable to the entire country, which makes things slightly more complicated. With no further ado, let’s see what are the most important gambling laws in India.

The Public Gambling Act of 1867

The Public Gambling Act 1867 is somewhat notorious. It came into power almost 150 years ago and still serves as the most important law in determining what legal betting is. There are two important things you should know about this specific law:

  • This Act makes operating a gambling venue illegal. Furthermore, it prohibits assisting in running such a venue, visiting such premises (even if you are not playing), financing this type of business, and even owning gambling devices.
  • At the same time, the above-mentioned rule is applicable only to games of chance. Games of skill are not included in this rule, as they are not considered gambling. According to Section 12, “nothing in the foregoing provisions of this Act contained shall be held to apply to any game of mere skill wherever played”.

The Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999

At the first glance, there is nothing that connects this law with legal gambling in India. However, there is a catch (as there always is). The Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 is not focused only on foreign exchanges. It also determines what is considered illegal in terms of the way local currency (INR, Indian rupee) is used. So, if you make a deposit in any other currency other than INR, you are essentially making an illegal exchange. The entire Chapter 2 is explaining the entire process of exchange, and Stipulation 4 even mentions how “no person resident in India shall acquire, hold, own, possess or transfer any foreign exchange, foreign security or any immovable property situated outside India”. This is why even offshore casinos and international casinos support INR.

The Information Technology Act of 2000

The Information Technology Act is, again, not predominantly concerned with online gambling cases in India, but online technologies in general. Even though this law never mentions gambling activities, it has a stipulation that allows the authorities to block any websites they deem necessary in order to protect the public. Some might consider it censorship, but the law is still standing after 20 years. The Stipulation 69A, clearly states how “the Central Government or any of its officers” keep the right to prevent access to the public. This also includes online casino sites and other websites that don’t fit the standards. For this reason, you can’t access many of the casinos that operate without a license.

Payment and Settlement Act, 2007

The last on our list is the Payment and Settlement Act, 2007. This particular law is not focused on gambling at all, at least not directly. It is concerned with electronic payments, but considering such methods are frequently used in gambling it is necessary to mention it. Essentially, it gives the Reserve Bank of India the ultimate power to block any payments towards websites that offer online casino games. There is no way to surpass this law, as RBI is superior to all banks that operate in the country.

Legal Online Casinos in India

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Local Gambling Laws in India

Gambling laws in India don’t end here. In fact, we are just getting started! The final word in ruling whether gambling is legal or not, and what gambling is, is made on the local level. This means that every single one, out of 28 states has a distinctive set of rules and laws that make gambling legal or illegal. This is the situation, as of April 2021.

Andhra Pradesh

In December 2020, Andhra Pradesh House passed a Bill that bans online gaming and betting. It even goes as far as to imprison anyone involved in gambling, whether in organizing it or playing the games. Banned games include “cards, dice, gaming, tables or cloth boards”, and any other form of gambling for that matter.

Arunachal Pradesh

The northeastern state has prohibited all sorts of gambling since 2012. The prohibition is prosecuting not only those who organized gambling activities but customers as well, all according to the Arunachal Pradesh Gambling (prohibition) Act 2012. The exception to this rule is the lottery.


Assam’s gaming market is regulated by The Assam Game and Betting Act, 1970 which forbids betting houses, however, fails to deliver a precise definition. Considering its date, whether an online casino is a betting house or not is subjected to personal interpretation. What a way to confuse customers playing at foreign casinos. Still, the lottery is legal!


Bihar distinguishes between games of chances and games of skill. Games of chances are prohibited, but games of skill, which include horse races betting, poker, and rummy are not. Again, this state hasn’t recognized the need to regulate online casinos.


Considering the rapid economic growth, this state will probably rethink its gambling legislative soon. At the moment, the only law in power is The Public Gambling Act of 1867.


The gambling laws in Delhi are quite strict and are followed by the Act of 1955. Here you can legally play the lottery, bet on horses and play online casinos.


Goa is the gambling heaven in India. It provided licenses to 10 land-based casinos, with 4 of them operating on boats at Mandovi River. 2 floating casinos are operated by Deltin Group, and two by Pride Group. Gambling is possible thanks to the special amendment to the then-existing gambling law, made in 1992, which enables the local government to act as a regulatory body for the gambling industry. But it is not only casinos that Goa supports, as you can play the lottery as well!


The Act made in the 19th century is still in power, but we hear demands to regulate the online gambling market more frequently than ever. Unfortunately, Gujarat authorities are more focused on banning mobile apps and online casinos, rather than creating a competitive market.


Gambling laws in India don’t work in the favour of customers, at least not in Haryana. All betting is prohibited except horse racing wagering.

Himachal Pradesh

The mountain state has a long tradition of gambling, which occurs despite it being prohibited. According to the Himachal Pradesh Gambling Act that says how “whoever is found gaming in any public street, place or thoroughfare or setting any bird or any animal to fight in any such street, place or thoroughfare shall be punishable with fine not exceeding fifty rupees or with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one month”. Despite that, local festivities are filled with gamblers and dealers.


The gambling industry stands no chance in Jharkhand, as it still relies on the old Act, without even trying to implement a modern approach. Online casinos remain unrecognized and a grey zone as they are neither prohibited nor allowed. They aren’t even mentioned.


There has been quite a loud opposition to online gambling in Karnataka. The opposition even banned online rummy if played for money, and it seems that something similar might happen to other games as well.


Kerala High Court has yet to decide on the future of online gambling apps. Even though lotteries are still legal, The Kerala Gaming Act prohibits gambling and betting. The general plan is to include online gambling in the Act.

Madhya Pradesh

In this central state, everyone is still focused only on The Public Gambling Act of 1867, without any real effort to implement online gambling into it. This means online casinos remain free to play in. As long as you deposit, of course! Furthermore, you can also play lotteries.


In this colourful state, you can play lotteries or skill-based games, or horse races betting, and rummy. All games of chance are prohibited. There is no explicit prohibition in Maharashtra gambling laws on online casinos.


In Manipur, you can play lotteries as well as online casino games. There is no law commission to amend the Act that fails to regulate the online gambling industry. Also, there are no signs such action will happen in the near future.


Unlike many other Indian states, this one understands the potential of the online gaming industry. In February 2021, it voted for a new law that defines the licensing process and regulated the online market. However, no real action will happen before the regulatory body has been put together. For now, you can play the lottery carefree.


At the moment, gambling in Mizoram is illegal, with no signs that might change in the future. Online casinos are not banned and are considered a grey zone. The lottery is allowed.


There are two important laws in this country: Nagaland Prohibition of Gaming and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Bill, 2016, and Nagaland Prohibition of Gaming and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2016. The latter plans to regulate and allow online gambling for games of skill.


Odisha’s gambling market is regulated by laws from the 1950s that don’t recognize the existence of online gambling.


In the state of Punjab, the Act remains the most powerful law. At the same time, there were also a few local laws implemented. One of them The Punjab Prevention of gambling Ordinance 1978, states that “whoever is found in any common gaming-house playing or gaming with cards, dice, counters, money or other instruments of gaming, or for the purpose of gaming, whether for any money, wager or stake or otherwise, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both.” Punjab still allows lottery.


In 2021, Rajasthan has announced a big addition to current laws, or to the Rajasthan Public Gambling Ordinance 1949. The amended law will include a ban on online gambling. However, the announced Rajasthan Public Gambling (Prevention) Bill 2021 still hasn’t come into power.


As one of the very few states that allow gambling, Sikkim is home to two casinos – Casino Sikkim and Casino Mahjong. Sikkim Regulation of Gambling (Amendment) Act and Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules, 2009 are two main laws. However, no online licenses have been issued to this date.

Tamil Nadu

This Southern state is somewhat notorious. In February, a new bill was introduced to regulate online gambling and some aspects of land-based games. The fine for online gambling is set at 2 years.


The Telangana gambling laws and especially Gaming (Amendment) Act, 2017 has zero tolerance towards gambling, including games of skill.


This state still follows the 1867 Gambling Act. You can still buy and sell lottery tickets.


Just like many other states, Uttarakhand relies on general gambling laws in India. The state also declared how the betting tax of the nearby Uttar Pradesh is applicable in Uttarakhand.

Uttar Pradesh

This is one of the biggest states in the entire country. Uttar Pradesh Act (21) of 1961, the Uttar Pradesh Entertainments and Betting Tax Act of 1979, and the more recent Uttar Pradesh Unauthorised Lottery (Prevention) Act of 1995 have banned the majority of gambling entertainment.

West Bengal

West Bengal Gambling and Prize Competitions Act of 1957 bans all sorts of gambling with the exception of lotteries and races run by the state. Read more about the West Bengal gambling laws in our article.

Union Territories

Out of all union territories, only Daman, of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu legalized gambling. There is one casino owned by the Deltin Group. Gambling is reserved for boat casinos and special resorts.

Online Gambling Laws in India

By now, you probably understand why it is so hard to operate legal casinos in India. But what about online sites? Are they legal or illegal? Well, there is no universal law on online gambling, and it all depends not only from state to state but also on the type of game. Legal betting sites in India usually operate under an offshore license, such as those provided by the state of Curacao.

Only a few states decided to even consider online gambling as a special form of betting: Meghalaya, Sikkim, and Nagaland (still has to implement proper jurisdiction on this subject). Most states still base their gambling laws on the centuries-old Act, implemented before TV was invented, not to mention the internet. Also, as you have probably noticed, the laws tend to differ depending on the type of gaming.


Casino sites are allowed in Goa, Sikkim, and Daman. Sikkim is the only one that provides licenses for online operators. However, none of the offshore providers has ever asked for one. Furthermore, they distinguish games of skill from games of chance, so a site regulated in Sikkim would offer far less variety in terms of games.


In most of India, sports betting is quite regulated. Bets usually have to be placed on the day of the event, plus with an authorized bookie. Some states even organize races and prize competitions and lotteries attached to them.


As a game of skill, poker is not always considered to be a gambling game. In Nagaland, it is considered to be a game of skill, while some like Telegana prohibit it like any other type of gambling.


The laws on lotteries depend on the state. Some of them allow all sorts of lotteries, while others ban them altogether. Lotteries are allowed in Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland, and Mizoram. The Lotteries Regulation Act of 1998 defines all the rules of how lotteries are organized, drawn and how frequently they can happen.


Bingo is a tricky one. It can be considered both a lottery and a game of chance. It is allowed depending on how the local authorities see it.

International Lottery Laws in India

When it comes to international lottery laws, things tend to get a bit complicated. Only a handful of states bans online lotteries, especially international ones. For instance, Punjab and Kerala ban all foreign and domestic online lotteries. Most other states don’t recognize online lotteries, just like they don’t recognize online casinos. This means you can purchase international lottery tickets and play them as you wish.

The situation with Skill Games in India

You have probably noticed how we often mention games of chance and games of skill. Here is the main difference:

  • Games of chance are those where the result is 100% unpredictable and all players stand the same chances, depending on the game. Such a game would be roulette – no one ever knows where the ball is gonna land.
  • Games of skill require some sort of knowledge, experience, or strategy. Not all players have the same chances, as their behavior and actions highly influence the final outcome. Such a game would be poker.

According to research published by Deloitte, skill games are mostly allowed in India. One of the main reasons why it is so is because they are much harder to manipulate or rig. Skill games most commonly include:

  • Poker
  • Rummy
  • Nap
  • Bridge
  • Fantasy sports

Can you Play Foreign Gambling Sites in India?

The question above is as old as time, or at least, as old as online casinos. There are a few things to consider when talking about online gambling. First and foremost, is that most gambling laws in India don’t recognize online gambling at all. This means that if it is not explicitly prohibited, it is considered to be at least tolerated.

Second, just because a website is not licensed by an Indian authority doesn’t mean it is a scam. You can always play with offshore sites, regulated by authorities from other countries such as Gibraltar, Malta, UK, or Curacao. We advise you to get familiar with local laws and see what authorities in your state have to say on the matter of international casinos and global sportsbook brands. And finally, make sure to always play with a casino that has some sort of license, as that way you know everything is done by the book, and your money won’t just disappear.

Here are some things to consider when choosing an online casino, that isn’t mentioned in any gambling laws in India:

The Attitude of Gambling in Indian Culture

Indian culture is unique in many ways, even when it comes to gambling. While gambling laws in India don’t provide a united stand on whether this pastime is acceptable or not. Most Indians simply love their gambling games! After all, the first descriptions of gambling were found in ancient scriptures. The first mention of gambling occurs in Ramayana, in 7300 BC. It describes some sort of board game, similar to chess but with dice, that can cost you “the shirt you are wearing on your back. Furthermore, there is the story in Mahabharata, in which Shakuni challenges king Yudhishthira, who loses his entire fortune and kingdom.

And even though many states ban gambling altogether, authorities often turn a blind eye to this form of fun. And we are not talking only about bribed police officers and civil servants! During the biggest Indian festivities and holidays, such as Diwali, gambling takes place on every corner, regardless of the police enforcement. And the best thing is – no one bats an eye!

Indians love their games, and will always find a way to play them, regardless of what Gambling laws in India might say about it. After all, nothing beats the thrill of winning some extra cash. But, unlike their ancestors, young Indians don’t have to visit shady cellars and gambling joints to enjoy their games. Thanks to smartphones, they play no matter where they are, and what they do, especially since online gaming is not as restricted as land-based.

The Future of Gambling in India

Before we turn into fortune tellers, let’s just say how the Indian gambling market is estimated at $60 billion a year, with predictions that it will reach $90 billion by 2025. And more than half of the amount is thanks to offshore casino companies.

Despite the fact online casinos have been around for two decades, the Indian authorities still don’t recognize their full potential. But, we can expect that will change. And the outcome can go either way.

The authorities can create an overregulated market or one that prohibits all sorts of online gambling. Even though some believe this is a much safer approach, it is more dangerous for the customer and more devastating for the state’s budget. You see, gamblers are going to gamble, and they will always find a way. Overregulated markets turn them towards unlicensed and dangerous brands.

On the other hand, locally regulated companies bring more opportunities for everyone. Customer protection is at much higher levels. State officials get their piece of cake thanks to the revenue taxes. Laws can have stipulations about casinos having to implement local customer support, offices, etc., meaning more jobs for the Indian workforce.

It is impossible to say which way the Indian Government is going. But for the sake of all customers and players across the country, let’s hope they will focus on the more balanced approach that can survive long-term, and be beneficial for everyone involved.

George Lewis
George Lewis

Hi, I’m George, born in the USA, but currently living in India where I came to find my roots. I have been a part of the team ever since the launch in 2019.

Beforehand, I was a dealer at a small casino in Reno, but have decided to take my life to India, and my passion for the gambling industry online, and this position is the perfect opportunity to share all the tricks of the trade.

Working in the dynamic Indian market has been challenging, but it’s a pleasure to see the industry grow and go in the right direction thanks to us and our efforts.

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1️⃣ Should online gambling in India be regulated?

Yes, online gambling should be regulated, however, considering its territory it will take a few more years before it happens.

2️⃣ Are there punishments for online gambling in India?

The punishment for online gambling varies from state to state and the way it treats this type of entertainment. Some don’t mind online gambling, while others might fine you and imprison everyone involved.

3️⃣ Is betting legal in India?

Betting is legal for the most part, depending on the local laws.

4️⃣ Is casino legal in India?

Casinos in India are legal in Goa, Sikkim, and Daman.

5️⃣ Is cricket betting legal in India?

Cricket betting is not legal in India, but it is often tolerated, depending on the state.

6️⃣ Is online lottery legal in India?

Online lottery is legal in most states. Madhya Pradesh is the only state that bans online lottery.

7️⃣ Is rummy legal in India?

Rummy is considered a game of skill, so it is legal in most parts of India.

8️⃣ Is online poker legal in India?

As a game of skill, poker is legal in most parts of India.

9️⃣ Is horse racing betting legal in India?

Horse racing is considered to be a bet categorized under games of skill in most parts of the country. You can bet on horses as long as you do it with a licensed bookie.
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