Online Casino | A Look at the Legalities of Gambling in India

  • Monday, Nov 23, 2020

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Online gambling is a tsunami of entertainment that is washing over all countries. Access and opportunity are unavoidable. There are hundreds of casinos online and the market in India is only in its infancy and is already big business for both player and casino.

So, is it legal to gamble online? Well, there is lots to discuss on this subject as be present to you a full guide and gaming companion with regards to betting and playing online casino games.

From our site, you will learn about the laws in India and how they effect you both in online gaming and land-based casinos. We discuss the gaming availability and the options that are open to would-be players that are looking to win real money from online casinos here in India.

Casino in India

Gambling is by no means a new thing to players in India. Casinos have been around for over a century and spawned the Gambling Act of 1867. An online casino raises many questions; is it safe, is it legal, and does it payout real money in rupee currency?

Online casino entertainment is now one of the biggest industries in the world, millions of players access online games that allows them to profit from thousands of titles. These opportunities are equal to those living here in India. Despite what you may think of the laws in India, they are not so dissimilar to other countries and their approach to online casino management.

So, how does the law work when it come to an Indian casino that is online? Well, when it comes to a casino online, there are certain rules and protocols to abide by. Every online casino that is open to the Indian market should be licensed and regulated. Interestingly enough, its not the Indian government or gambling body which does this.

Perhaps we should begin with this. The Indian Government and the lack of control board.

Who’s in Control of the Laws?

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When it comes to joining the best rage of online casino operators, who can you trust and have assurance in? Well, it all starts with the casino license. All casino license are issued by governing bodies that are in that position of power. Oddly enough there aren’t too many of them in the world. For players in India, you might have maybe two or three bodies that can safely guarantee legitimate online gambling.

The UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority are the two most popular bodies in the world.

Now, the Indian government doesn’t license sites because there are elements of gambling where it is banned, making the need for a separate governing body remedial.

Those in control are the licensing board despite being foreign governing bodies. Because their reputation precedes them, governments accept that a casino is under the regulators code of conduct. The casino, with the right license is then approved and made available to the public under the conditions of paying business tax, no surprise there, and complying to the Gambling Act of 1867 and not adverting their services.

It is very easy to be critical of the government when looking at the facts. It is somewhat hypocritical to prohibit remote businesses from producing online betting sites because you do not want the public to think your party condones gambling, yet if it is an overseas business it’s okay because they pay tax to do so.

This is no new thing, nearly every country in the world works like this, banning the opportunity form homegrown businesses to be successful, yet allowing overseas to privilege of supporting players in another country.

India is no different when it comes to the gambling laws of Canada, America, New Zealand, France, and many other places, so you are not alone some exclusive club.

What the License does

Putting a casino online is by no means an easy task. Those following the right measures can find the process taking years to complete. From design and development to meeting the legal standards, during which the costs grow as the time passes.

The license is controlled and operated by the governing body that will regulate the casino during its license period. For example, if a casino receive approval from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), then the license will be in place for 10-year or until the company dissolves if they are unable to compete in the highly crowded market.

An online casino will have to meet the standards set by the licensing body, this includes gaming fairness and security. During the 10-year period of this license the licensing body effectively becomes the regulator, making sure it complies with the codes of conduct. Should a casino fail they can be stripped of the license or receive a very large fine.

Gambling Online Legal

It could be very easy to paint a picture of doom and gloom when it comes to gambling online, sure, when it all began back in 1994, there was a risk when it came to security as with any online enterprise. Now, there are literally no risk issues given the development of better security tools and man management and awareness.

So, are the rules to same for an Indian casino that you can walk into off the high street and an online casino? Well, for the full facts and figures, the information can be read within the government report here, but dissecting this, here are the brief facts surrounding the online casino laws and the Gambling Act of 1867.

Indian’s Gambling Act

There is a lot to discuss with regards to the laws, hence the link above for you to read in full yourself, so here are the digestible parts.

Gambling back in 1867 was punishable when done in public and within ‘gaming houses’. This ruling was set for the united provinces, East Punjab, Delhi and within the central provinces. The term Gaming House would consist of any walled enclosure or room that would occupy any card, table or dice game. The Act had the power to extend restrictions beyond just the area where gambling could take place. It could be pushed into any city, suburb, town and within three miles of any listed state.

The gambling act was open to the owner and the occupier of the said gaming house, the penalty would include a fine up to 200 rupees or could lead to imprisonment which would not be more than 3 months. For those caught playing, the fine would be no greater than 100 rupees and an imprisonment term that didn’t exceed a one-month period.

The gambling act gave power to the police to enter and search properties whereby credible information would lead to a prosecution. Seizure of equipment would be granted upon all searches. Any other gaming equipment such as cards and tables would be used as evidence against the party in the courts.

The act also covers the right to further imprisonment is any false names and details are submitted during an arrest. All recovered items will be destroyed on conviction and all money will be forfeited.

Now, there is a very intriguing part of the act that states it does not apply to certain games that are based on chance. In the guidance of skill, games will be deemed to fall under the gambling act. This includes mostly card games. There is also no direct translation within the act that would deem an online casino to be exclusive of the laws, in fact, the only law that mentions online casinos is in the section that notes no advertising is permitted.

As for the casinos in India that are land-based, they are made an exception to the rules because each state can now control how the laws work. Let’s take a look at how gambling specifically works within India and the do’s and do not’s that come with the taboo.

Gambling within India

There is no secret that the online gambling laws in India are complicated. This comes down to the clarity of acceptance between the law makers and the players. So, what is and is not accepted when it comes to the laws?

Well, first, let us dispel the myth that it is all illegal and unregulated. This is simply not true, and you have plenty of options available to you. The gambling industry in India is believed to be worth an estimated value of 60 billion US Dollars. What is made available to players are the following games:

  • Lotteries
  • Prize Competitions
  • Horse Racing
  • Sports Betting
  • Games of Skill
  • Games of Chance

Lottery Games

Lottery or Lotto games are specifically exempt from the gambling act, that was until 1998 because no law existed in that time. The Indian parliament brought about the change and ushered in regulated lotteries of which they would become part of. In 2010, further rule adaptions were made to the laws with regards to the number of draws and what the payouts could be. The term ‘Lottery’ was also redefined to make the laws clearer that this was a game of chance.

Competitions

Oddly enough, there is another act that many Indian players are unaware of, the Prize Competitions Act of 1955. This is defined under section 2 of this act.:

Prizes competition allows for any competition whereby prizes are offered upon the resolution of a puzzle that is based on the arrangement, combination or through the permutation of words, letters of figures.

This act extends across the following Indian states: Bombay, Andhra, Uttar Pradesh, Hyderabad, Madras, Orissa, Patiala, Madhya Bharat, and East Punjab States Union. It also includes all the erstwhile Part C States, Saurashtra and Pondicherry, Daman, Dadar, Goa, Nagar Haveli, and Diu.

Horse Racing

Many of India’s states have adopted the 1867 Gambling Act and it comes with an amendment to it’s classification of horse racing, in that it has been excluded because of new definitions, that distinguished when bets can be placed i.e. on the day of the race and not prior to. And betting can take place in a sanctioned provincial of India where lottery services are not provided. There are six major ‘turf clubs, that look after horse racing in India and they are:

  • the Royal Calcutta Turf Club
  • the Madras Race Club
  • the Royal Western India Turf Club Ltd
  • the Delhi Race Club
  • the Bangalore Turf Club Ltd.
  • the Hyderabad Race Club

Sports Betting

Now, whether sports is really about skill or chance, this has never been clarified by the supreme courts in India. Because of the absence of this, a grey area hangs over the existence of sports betting throughout India. The state of Sikkim has led the way to legalise online sports betting within the state which is also covered by the Sikkim Online Gaming Regulation Act 2008. This allows for a license to be obtained for sports games that includes football, cricket, golf, tennis, chess and horse racing to name a few.

Games of Skill

This is a separate categorization of gameplay because of the different states in India that exclude and include them. Where the games of skill are absent of the law, games of skill are deemed to be where influence can be brought into the game by the player. This is why many of the card games fall under this bracket, including rummy and bridge.

Defined by the Nagaland government and in their Promotion of Online Games of Skill Act 2015, skill is recorded as “Games that have a preponderance where skill overrides chance. This is where skill comes into effect with strategies and in such cases, team selections. Like virtual stocks, analysis can be made because skill relates to the how moves are made based on information which is not available in games of chance.

Games of Chance

Some but not all states exempt games of chance, but where Goa and Sikkim have their own Casino Games Act, they allow and are able to license online casino operations and offshore sites that provide games of chance.

In the case of lotteries, the state itself have the power to organise the events and are able to promote the lotteries. Lottery departments have appointed agents and run by private companies that help to operate the games on behalf of the state. The states where lotteries are legal include Maharashtra, Territorial Council, Mizoram, Bodoland Goa, Sikkim, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, and West Bengal.

Real Money Games Online

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Now, this is all very clear when looking at this in part, some places approve, and others do not. There are definitions to skill and chance. You can bet online but inside of the casinos in India there are restrictions to what can be made available depending on the state laws. You can now begin to see why there are so many grey areas that leave players confused when looking to join an online casino.

In short, to clear any uncertainty up, you only need to know a few key things about the online casino you join to have peace of mind about playing games within the casino online.

Is the site licensed? Is the site accessible and not blocked? Does it accept the rupee currency and payout in rupees?

When it comes to real money entertainment or gameplay which just these three simple checks, you are able to comfortably play casino games online and within the law to do so.

What Games are Available to Play

There are many real money games you can play online. With over 20 different casinos available for you to join, each has their own unique selection. Some casinos will offer you around 200 games, whilst the bigger sites can provide over a thousand and supply players with a range of additional gaming platforms like sports betting and live poker tournaments.

There is no real right or wrong quantity of games, just as long as the quality is approved and proved to be profitable.

A typical online casino will boast slot machines. Slots are the most popular game online because of its simplistic nature and because of its profitability factor. Slots are built with an abundant of features like bonus rounds, jackpot rounds, hidden gaming features and changeable paylines.

For the traditionalist, there are numerous games that are deemed to be classics of the casino circuit. These are your quintessential card and table games: blackjack, poker, craps, baccarat, roulette and sic bo.

Playing traditional card and table games can be done so through two different gaming formats. As standard, games are programmed to be virtual simulations, digitalized game built to play and act like the real thing. These are known as RNG games. Then you have the live casino platforms that really do offer you live casino games.

Live casino games are part of a live streaming service that allows you to engage with real-time games that are hosted by a live dealer that may be playing with other members of the casino. You are able to view the game via the webcam stream, place your bets, chat with the dealer, and watch the bets unfold in real-time.

Other betting options include Sports Betting which hosts live and forthcoming sporting events, games, matches and tournaments. You are able to place in-play bets whilst watching the games in real-time also. You have an average of over 20 national and international sports to bet on.

As an online player, you will also discover other online casino platforms that give you access to new gaming worlds, like live poker and live bingo. For the Indian player, there are traditional Indian games to play. Andar Bahar and Teen Patti are common gaming features amongst the online casinos. They are usually reserved for the live gaming category, where your games will be hosted by an Indian speaking dealer.

Casino Online

Picking a casino online can be a fairly daunting task given the choices you have. So, what criteria should you be looking for when selecting your new online casino? Well, we look at a number of aspects that should be top of the list of requirements when looking at where to play your online casino game and you can certainly join more than one casino.

Here we break down 5 important areas of any top-rated Indian casino that you should be investigating right now.

Gaming

Opportunity and choice yield success. It is not about the numbers rather the diversity. If you have a casino with 1000 slots and only provide slots, you are faced with less diversity than having a casino with 200 games but also sport and live casino access.

Before you register to a platform, know what games you are wanting to play, if it’s only slots, then you may as well join the site that is able to offer you thousands of slots. If, however, you wish to be more explorative, then you are best served by joining a casino with multi-platform options.

Security

Security is part of the regulation process we discussed earlier, checked, and approved by the regulators, but it doesn’t have to end there. You will find there are online casinos that go that extra mile by have more than one independent body checking the validity of the games being offered to the platform’s members. It may serve you best to join the casinos that have iTech Lab and GLC testing and have certified approval for their RNG machines.

Plus, you also want a casino offering the best online security service. There are a number of options in the Indian market, but the Secure Socket Layer encryption software is the most used and most successful. You may find sites with Norton and McAfee security that have less successful records so bear this in mind.

Software

Software in every sense plays its part in providing quality throughout. Software in gaming comes from the developers and not the casino. Online casinos partner with software companies to supply their site with their gaming portfolios, some casinos have one partner and others have over a hundred. For new players, the immediate interest is gambling and getting wins from the machines available, in time, players soon learn the importance of the developer over the title of a game.

Gaming software is important to know about and one of the many examples is the volatility of a game. This is about how a game is made and how easy it is to win. The volatility levels are in three, low, medium, and high. Playing low volatility games allows you to land more wins but they are often less profitable. The opposite is said of the high volatility games with lesser wins but when they do land, they are of higher value.

Software developers can be known to produce one of a kind or they mix them up, you need to find what level you are comfortable playing at.

Banking

Banking in India is a pain, this cannot be denied. Issues come about because the Reserve Bank of India is able to block payments from gambling services because there is issue over the law and issue over money laundering.

There are ways about this that will require you to engage with two separate banking services that are not the normal payment process that you may be familiar with. It is recommended to all players in India to invest in alternative payment options known as eWallets, brands like Skrill and Neteller work like PayPal offering anonymous banking services that will allow you to pay with rupees and win rupees and not get your transactions blocked by the RBI.

Rewards

As a member of any online casino, you want to feel appreciated and recognised for your efforts, as such, you may wish in researching which online casinos award their members the best casino bonuses and promotions.

Every casino online in some from or another gives out promotions and rewards, though these are always subject to change the ultimate decision on where you play should not be down to the options or opportunities as the bonuses are all relative. If you have a casino giving you 1000 free games on poker and you hate poker, then it’s not exactly the best deal for you. Take the time to look at what is on offer and to always make sure you read the Terms and Conditions of any online casino bonus to make sure you know how the bonus is to be used correctly.

Indian Casino

Playing from Indian territories will have its difficulties depending on the state you live in. Playing online is more beneficial than joining any of the land-based casinos in India. If you wish to learn more about gambling online and how online betting occurs in India then select this link to read a fantastic article on the matter of legal betting in Indian casinos.

Find your own Indian casino the right way. Take the information offered to you that gives you factual advice and details about the rights and wrongs. Gambling online can be a live-changing experience, make no mistake, gambling with real money should only be done so if you can afford the losses. If you can manage that, then know that the opportunity to win is very real and should you take on the decision to play for real money, then we wish you the best of luck. Namaste.