If you are interested in online gaming, you are probably wondering whether there are any legal online casinos in India. Before we even start, keep in mind that gambling regulation is as complicated as India itself. There is no universal law that allows or prohibits gambling activities on a nationwide level. The laws vary from state to state, but we will cover some basic principles in this article.
Is Online Gambling Legal in India?
For the most part, legal online gambling in India is in a somewhat grey zone. This means it is not banned or prohibited, but it is not explicitly regulated either. You can imagine this causes a lot of confusion for lawmakers, police, and players, as the same law clause can be interpreted in several ways, depending on who you ask.
Of course, some states explicitly ban or allow online gambling, so we created a list that might help:
- Allowed: Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim (no licenses provided yet)
- Banned: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Punjab, Rajasthan (possibly soon), Tamil Nadu, Telangana
- Not recognized by law: Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka (some games like rummy are banned), Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Union Territories
To keep the list as up-to-date as possible, we also listed states depending on announced laws and general gambling bans. If you are not sure whether or not gambling is allowed in your state, we highly recommend you check out with the local government officials.
Also, considering the gambling industry is becoming more present in India than ever, it is to be expected that those countries that don’t regulate online gaming at the moment will probably tackle this industry soon enough. It is impossible to say how many casinos in India operate in the grey zone at the moment.
Nonetheless, many of them operate under licenses provided by offshore regulators such as those in Malta, Gibraltar, United Kingdom, and Curacao. Despite the fact that international licenses have no power in India, they can still be a solid indicator of whether or not a specific brand is good to play with. Use it as a guideline before India licenses its first online casino.
What is the Punishment for Gambling in India?
Just like laws, punishments for illegal gambling vary from state to state. In most cases, they are a combination of a money fine and imprisonment. Also, the amount you have to pay and the duration of imprisonment will depend on your first offence.
Here are some examples of gambling fines in India:
- Himachal Pradesh – 50 rupees fine, or up to one month of prison.
- Punjab – 5,000 rupees or up to one year in prison. It is also possible to get both, depending on what you do and the court.
- Tamil Nadu – fines range between 500 rupees to 10,000 rupees. On top of that, you can also get imprisonment of up to 2 years.
The Public Gambling Act of 1867, which is also the most important gambling law in India, sets a ₹100 fine or imprisonment of up to one month. Considering most states still have this law in power, this is also the most common fine. In many states, it remains unclear whether the fine applies to online gaming.
What is the Legal Age for Gambling in India?
Most countries all over the world allow gambling once you turn 18, but not India. The legal gambling age in India is 21.
Now, you might think how easy it is to fool online casinos and add a year or two during the registration, but we would never advise you to do so. Even though you can register with any data you want, even imaginary, make sure to use true personal details.
Underage gambling is a serious offence, and most companies will require you to provide some authentication sooner or later, anyway. This means that if you sign up with false data, you won’t withdraw any winnings you make.
We hope that online gaming regulation in India will become much clearer and more simple soon. At the moment, it is impossible to gamble with Indian-based legal casinos in India simply because there aren’t any of them based in the country. The best alternatives are licensed offshore casinos, but only as long as you are not living in a state that explicitly bans all sorts of gambling or online gambling.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is only of informative nature. It is no legal advice and shouldn’t be viewed as such. For the most reliable information, we highly advise you to talk to a legal consultant or ask an authorized government body to provide information about the status of gambling in your state.