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Is it legal to play Online Casino in India?

16 July 2019

Many readers have come to us asking about the legal situation of gambling in India. We understand that many of you are concerned about this issue, as nobody is interested in breaking the law. So we decided to dedicate this article to answer the question: “is it legal to play online casino in India?”.

Legal Disclaimer

Before we get started, we need to inform you that we are not lawyers, advocates or legal experts in any way. This article is purely based on legal information that we have collected from conversations with lawyers in India and through intensive research.

We have done everything we can to answer this question truthfully, but if you want a legally binding answer, we advise you to contact an Indian lawyer for yourself.

Gambling in India: the backstory

For hundreds of years, people have gambled on the Indian subcontinent. From the smallest of villages to the biggest of palaces, people played traditional Indian games such as Andar Bahar and Jhandi Munda. For centuries, maybe even millennia, these games were played without any gambling laws to regulate them.

After the arrival of the British, and after having effectively colonized the entire Indian subcontinent, the British authorities decided to impose their own morals and ethics upon the Indian population by enacting the country’s first gambling law by the mid 1800’s. This was to become known as The Public Gambling Act of 1867. The first law in India to outlaw gambling completely.

More than 150 years have passed, and our government has done nothing to change or amend the ancient law of 1867. Even to this day the law is in effect in most of India, except for a few states that have chosen to enact their own local gambling regulation.

But how does this law take into consideration the issue of online gambling in India? The answer is: it does not. Online gambling was not a thing back in 1867, so the law makes no mention of online gambling.

So does it mean that because online gambling is not mentioned in the law of 1867, that we should assume online gambling to be legal in India? Well, technically yes. We cannot assume otherwise. If our government wanted online gambling to be illegal, they would have amended the law.

The current legal situation of online gambling in India

The issue of gambling in India is a growing concern in the Indian parliament. On one side of the parliament, you have people arguing that gambling should be totally prohibited in India. On the other side, you have people advocating for a legal but regulated gambling scene.

Until a decision is taken by the federal Indian government, it is safe to say that online gambling in India is a bit of a grey area. There are no specific laws in India that the authorities can point to which outlaw online gambling. The issue of online gambling exists in a state of being neither legal nor illegal. It is down to each local state to set their own legislation on online gambling in their territory.

So far, only a few Indian states have passed their own legislation on online gambling. For example, the state of Maharashtra has decided to prohibit all kinds of gambling within state lines, both online and offline gambling.

On the other hand, you have states like Sikkim and Goa which have gone so far as to legalize gambling in a regulated fashion. You can find actual real-world casinos operating in both states which attract gamblers from all over India.

Needless to say, it is necessary for India to have clear federal legislation which stipulates whether online gambling is legal or not legal in India. Until that happens, gambling in India will remain what it is today: a legal grey area.

If you wanna get started online gambling in India, then rest assured, you are in your full legal right to do so unless you live within one of the states where online gambling has actively been prohibited.

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