As the richest state in India, Maharashtra is full of gambling enthusiasts and people who enjoy card games, roulette, and other types of gaming entertainment. Despite its wealth and more than obvious popularity of gambling, Maharashtra still relies on outdated laws that can’t keep up with current trends. Does that mean all types of gambling from Maharashtra are banned? Not exactly. Like everything else in India, things are not always what they seem, and this state delivers some great gaming opportunities that we’ll explain in the article that follows.
Gambling Laws in Maharashtra
Two main laws define what is gambling in this state. The first one is the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887, and the other one is the Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887. As you can see, both of them are more than a century old and don’t contain any information about Maharashtra online casinos. In addition to those two, the Public Gambling Act, 1967, is even older.
Here are some fines you can get in Maharashtra for illegal gambling activities:
- first time – one month in prison, plus ₹200 fine
- second time – three months in prison, plus ₹200 fine
- third time – 6 months in prison
It is obvious how gambling laws in Maharashtra understand that prison hits harder than any monetary fine. The money fines are ridiculously low compared to imprisonment.
The Maharashtra Prevention Act defines gambling as a game of chance, meaning games of skill are excluded from the law. Games of chance are those that can’t be predicted or influenced by the customer in any way. For instance, in poker (a game of skill), you can employ different tactics and knowledge of human behaviour to win. For example, in games like jhandi munda or roulette, it is impossible to make an educated guess on the outcome. That is why roulette is a game of chance.
Casinos in Mumbai
Mumbai is known worldwide as the City of Dreams. Here, you can find a job, get married, live a rich and famous lifestyle, and even gamble a little. Many don’t know how this state doesn’t make casinos illegal. The Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Tax) Act, 1976, is a legal act that introduced the licensing process for interested land-based companies. However, not a single company ever obtained one. Even though there are no Maharashtra casinos nor Mumbai casino venues, that doesn’t mean your hands are tied.
If you want that authentic casino experience, Goa is just a couple of hours away. As one of the top tourist destinations in India, Goa caters to the needs of all Indians. There are boat casinos, as well as casinos in luxurious resorts. Not in the mood for travelling? Visit the closest thing to a casino in Mumbai. The city is bursting with gaming parlours and establishments where you can test your changes on skill games.
There are also plenty of specialized sites that support Maharashtra online gambling. Such online casinos provide you with everything you need in the comfort of your own home. Whether you prefer to bet on sports, play at a live casino, or spin some slot machines – online casinos are there for you 24/7. Currently, there is no single regulated online casino in Maharashtra, but you can find plenty of licensed offshore sites. IF you want to know more, keep reading. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Best Online Casinos to Play in Maharashtra
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Lottery in Maharashtra
Lottery games are regulated according to The Lotteries Regulation Act, 1998. This law defines who can organize lotteries, under what conditions, what licenses lottery companies must obtain to provide tickets, penalties for breaking the law, etc. Generally speaking, this is one of the best national laws on gambling in India. Lottery in Maharashtra is insanely popular, just like in all other 12 states where it is made legal.
One of the most important parts of this law is Section 5: A State Government may, within the State, prohibit the sale of tickets of a lottery organized, conducted or promoted by every other State. This means you are limited to land-based lotteries organized within the state of Maharashtra. But what about online lotteries?
In 2006, an additional law on lotteries was voted, namely the Maharashtra Tax on Lottery Act 2006. This law introduced the 28% tax on lottery revenue and was even taken to the High Court. Even though controversial, the Lottery Taxation law was declared to be constitutional.
We already said this law is good, but it is not perfect. Considering it was voted in 1998, it doesn’t consider online and worldwide lotteries becoming more popular than local ones. The main reasons why they are so beloved are the huge jackpots and payouts they offer, plus endless playing possibilities.
Horse Betting in Maharashtra
Horse betting is another type of legal gambling in Maharashtra. It is considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance. One of the reasons why it is so is because players can create objective statistics on all jockeys and horses, learn about breeds, and follow the progress of a specific team to determine the outcome.
Gambling on this popular sports discipline has been legalized with the Bombay Race Courses Licensing Act, 1912. The final ruling on the legality of this discipline was made in 1996 in Dr KR Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu. During the ruling, the Supreme court explained how there is no luck involved in horse betting, as the same horse with two different jockeys would achieve a different result. Therefore, horse races are a skill, just like betting on horses, as there is some knowledge involved, rather than just a mere guess.
Bets can be placed only on the day of the race, on the racecourse, with authorized bookies. Essentially, all bookies operate under the Royal Western Turf Club of India (RWITC) in one way or another. Unlike in many other states, horse betting is very versatile. There are numerous types of bets you can place, including totes and jackpots.
Gambling Games You Can Play in Maharashtra
According to the Act of 1867, poker and rummy are considered skill games. They are played in special clubs, usually dedicated to only one or two games. And even though they are skill games, their operators still face a fair share of challenges in running their daily businesses.
Police raids and arrests are not uncommon, mostly because the law is interpreted differently by different authorities. The ancient laws make things complicated because they don’t tackle skill games in how they describe games of chance, so there are so many aspects of skill-based gaming left to interpretation. On several occasions, arrested customers even got relief from the state, as they were imprisoned without a valid cause. So, what is the best thing to do in this case?
We may suggest you join an online casino for real money. There are plenty of such websites available in Maharashtra, and their portfolio surpasses any special offer your local gambling joint might have.
Sports Betting in Maharashtra
Horse betting is just one aspect of sports betting. Unfortunately, it is also the only type of sports betting made legal in Maharashtra. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any people interested in this fun and lucrative activity. Sports betting is pretty much alive and thriving, even though it is still somewhat controversial, at least when it comes to land-based betting.
Visit any sports course on a day of an important match, and you will notice plenty of people offering betting and enjoying placing their bets. However, such services are 100% illegal, and we wouldn’t recommend playing money with such a bookie. After all, who guarantees you, you’ll get your winnings in the end?
If you want to bet on cricket, soccer, or any other type of sports for that matter, we advise you to visit online sportsbooks. These companies operate under offshore licenses and provide a great variety of sports and some great odds. Some of them offer as many as 30,000 events per month, which beats every bookie that operates in a shady street just before the match starts.
There have been plenty of initiatives to make sports betting as legal as horse betting. The main argument is that sports are also a skill and not based on chance. Even the cricket industry joined the effort, but to no avail. To this day, authorities haven’t made the call to make sports betting legal.
How to Gamble from Maharashtra?
By now, you have probably figured out how to gamble and what games are allowed. Honestly, the variety of games and gambling genres this state allows is not exactly the most exciting. After all, there are so many types of gambling. You can play a new game each day. That is possible only if you use the services of online casinos. Such casinos operate internationally and have offshore licenses provided by authorities such as those in the United Kingdom, Malta, and Curacao.
There are plenty of such websites reviewed here on our site. all you have to do is check out the top-rated brands, and find the one that suits you. However, we understand that some customers prefer to do things their own way, and do research on their own. IF you are one of them, we suggest you focus on the following:
- games variety
- sports variety
- bonuses and promotions
- loyalty program, challenges, and competitions
- mobile and desktop platform
- customer support
- payment methods
- payout conditions
Not all casinos will shine in all aspects mentioned above. Find the things you find most important and judge brands by them. As you can see, finding a casino can be quite an assignment. If you ever feel overwhelmed, return to our website and take the easy way out. Your perfect casino is just a few clicks away.
Future of Gambling in Maharashtra
Is the future of gambling in Maharashtra bright? It is hard to say. It will mostly depend on how this state (and will it) tackle online gambling. There are plenty of customers who already enjoy their favourite games online, with big casino brands that operate worldwide. The local authorities don’t seem to be concerned by it in any particular way. They don’t ban sites, but they don’t collect any taxes or provide licenses either. They decided to leave the companies to operate in the grey area.
Yet, with the growing exposure and financial crisis that is constantly hovering over the world’s economy, lawmakers may make online betting and gaming 100% legal. This prosperous industry can affect the state’s budget and shouldn’t be disregarded easily. A little more proactivity could make this state much richer.
- 1️⃣ Is online gambling legal in Maharashtra?
- You can bet in online casinos as much as you like, but we advise you to do your research and join a regulated casino. That way, you can have a great time and stay safe.
- 2️⃣ Can you play poker in Maharashtra?
- Poker is legal in Maharashtra. You can play it on specialized websites, at online casinos, and in gaming joints all over the state.
- 3️⃣ Are there any casinos in Maharashtra?
- Maharashtra provides casino licenses, but at the moment, no classic casino venues are operating. The closest ones can be found in Goa. There you can play on boats or in special resorts.
- 4️⃣ Can I play the lottery in Maharashtra?
- The lottery is legal in Maharashtra. The only thing to keep in mind is to play only with lottery companies licensed in this state. Alternatively, you can try the online lottery.
- 5️⃣ Is it legal to bet on cricket?
- If you want to wager with local providers, it won’t be possible to do so as land-based betting is not legal. There is an alternative to it. You can easily find an online sportsbook and place your bets there.