In most parts of the world, online and offline gambling is completely legal. People can gamble online or visit a bookmaker or brick-and-mortar casino whenever they want. However, things are not that simple when we talk about India.
India has pretty complex regulations for the entire gambling industry. When you look closer, this has been a grey zone for a long time. At the same time, it was legal and illegal, which often confused people who wanted to go there and locals who had the desire to test their luck. In certain states, online gambling is completely legal, but their number is small.
Fortunately for people, 2023 may be the key year for the gambling market. It seems that the government has finally decided to regulate the entire industry and allow people to test their luck.
The Public Gaming Act of 1867 was important
To understand what exactly is going on with Indian gambling laws, we need to talk about the Public Gaming Act of 1867. That act allows every state that belongs to India to independently determine whether online or offline gambling will be forbidden or not. That is the main reason gambling is completely legal in some states, somewhere is still a grey zone, while in certain regions, it is completely illegal.
Which online gaming products are legal in India?
Even now, when things around the iGaming industry are so messy, different offshore online casinos are offering their services here. Without any doubt, their number will be much bigger with the proposed new gambling regulations in India, which we will discuss later. However, the operators can’t offer whichever game they want. Believe it or not, different gaming products are legal in different states.
So, let’s go game by game. In Sikkim, which is the most flexible state when we talk about gambling, you can play all the games. Poker, for instance, is, despite in Sikkim, legal only in Nagaland and Meghalaya. Table games are only legal in Sikkim, which is a challenging obstacle for online operators.
On the other hand, sports betting sites can legally offer their services in Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. In the end, daily fantasy sports are legal only in Sikkim, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.
It turns out that Indian states have generally been flexible the most with lottery. That’s why it is legal in a wide range of states, including Sikkim, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.
New draft amendment may change everything
Things started to change in 2021 when the MeitY introduced a new draft amendment that aimed to fill the gaps that the Information Technology Act introduced 21 years before had. The reason for that was concerns that certain people from the government had. They realized that the grey zone is not good for anyone and can be quite harmful to both, players and the entire country.
For the first time in Indian history, the phrase “online game” has been added to the law. It was defined as a game that people can play via different devices and earn or spend real money on the internet.
The new requirements of the government
Two additional important rules have been defined with the new draft amendment. All the casinos had an obligation to inform every player that online gambling can cause financial losses as well as a gambling addiction. Their duty was to participate in responsible gambling actions in all the possible ways. Also, every casino had to prove the randomness of the games by being RNG certified.
Despite Sikkim state residents, people from all over India have gotten the chance to enjoy casino games under fair rules. However, we are yet to see whether things will go in the same direction. As we said, each state of India has the right to decide on its own whether online gambling will become completely legal or not.
Certain worries still exist
After the new regulations were officially announced, 138 betting and gambling apps had to stop working in February this year. They were not following all the new requirements, which was the reason why they had to stop working.
For example, those betting apps didn’t protect the user’s data properly. Another reason was misleading Terms and Conditions, where some casinos promised massive rewards for all the players that register and enjoy games on their websites. That means they haven’t promoted responsible gambling on their websites and lied to everyone about things that could happen.
But, even with the newest law changes, the politicians from some states have remained skeptical. A good example of that is Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states. Both of them decided to prohibit real money online gaming sites completely. The reason why they decided on that move is a large number of suicides as a result of the huge debts of people as well as the gambling addiction they struggled with.
The reason for unfortunate events like that was the availability of unlicensed casinos that somehow managed to reach the Indian online gambling market and offer their services. That was a sign that the Indian government still has to work on the regulations of this industry. But, if you ask us, things are becoming better and better!
Gambling can be addictive and may result in financial difficulties. Any information provided here are for general knowledge only. We do not encourage nor promote gambling.