Gambling laws in India are complex, with legislation varying from state to state. In this expert guide, we will take an in-depth look at the gambling regulations in India and how they can affect your gaming experience. So, read on!
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Gambling Legislation in India – Is It Legal?
Gambling laws in India vary across every state. While most prohibit all types of gambling, some states have relaxed their stance on certain forms of the activity.
In 2021, the Supreme Court of India declared betting on fantasy sports legal. However, a decision is still pending about foreign online casino operations. This does not imply that gambling in casinos is unlawful; it simply means this activity has yet to be regulated and thus provides no grounds for potential legal repercussions for gamblers.
Game of Chance vs. Game of Skill
Games of chance are those in which the outcome is determined by luck, such as in a game of dice or a lottery. They involve no skill and can’t be influenced by strategy — the winner is simply whoever gets lucky enough to draw or roll the right numbers.
On the other hand, games of skill require players to use their knowledge, experience, and tactical decisions to play effectively, so the player’s own skills decide the outcome rather than randomness. Poker, fantasy sports, and horse racing are examples of popular games of skill that require strategy and decision-making in order to win.
Gambling on all games deemed to be a game of skill (by legislation or court judgement) is legal across India. However, when it comes to games of chance, the legality of the activity is left at the discretion of state governments.
States like Telangana and Karnataka, for instance, have banned all forms of luck-based games, while Maharashtra has legalised lotteries, and Goa and Sikkim have allowed casinos to operate.
Region-Wise Gambling Laws in India
While games of skill are legal throughout the country, the legality of games of chance vary from state to state. Here is a table explaining region-wise gambling laws in India:
|State||Lottery||Horse Racing||Cricket Betting||Land Casino||Online Casino (India-based)||International Online Casino|
It is important to note that only government-sponsored lotteries are authorised in states where lottery activities are permitted.
Cricket Gambling in India
For many years, cricket gambling has been a much-loved pastime in India despite the fact that offline cricket gambling is illegal. Fortunately, online betting on cricket matches can be done without any fear of repercussions because there are no laws that explicitly ban online cricket betting.
Players are able to take advantage of this and explore different options offered by international sportsbook sites that allow cricket live betting.
Horse Racing Rules
Horse racing continues to be a hugely popular sport across India, especially in Mumbai. Betting on horse races is legal throughout the country as it is deemed to be a sport of skill.
Legality of Casino games
Land-based casinos are legal in only three states: Goa, Sikkim, and Daman. These states are popular tourist destinations and attract droves of gamblers from all across the country.
However, it is important to ensure that you are playing at a casino which is licensed and regulated by the appropriate authorities. These licences also come with certain regulations and laws that every player must follow. It is always safe to stick to the casinos in these three states only, as in the rest of India, it is completely illegal to run any kind of land-based casino activity.
However, these regulations do not apply to international online casinos. You can sign up and play your favourite casino games at any of the top international online casinos without any fear of legal repercussions. Just make sure that these casinos have valid licences from legit gambling authorities like the UK Gambling Commission, and the Malta Gaming Authority.
Indian States Where the Lottery Is Legal
- Arunachal Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- West Bengal
What Is the Penalty for Gambling in India?
Gambling laws in India are governed by the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which prohibits any kind of offline wagering or betting in public places, unless otherwise permitted by state government laws or judicial orders. There are certain exceptions such as horse racing and lotteries, but they are regulated by separate laws. Violations of gambling laws may land you a fine of ₹200 or incarceration for up to three months.
However, state governments have their own laws regarding penalties for illegal gambling. Varying punishments under state laws are outlined in the table below:
|Name of the Legislation||State||Maximum Penalty|
|Telangana Gaming Act, 2017||Telangana||₹10,000 fine + 2 years imprisonment|
|Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 2020||Andhra Pradesh||₹5,000 fine + 3 months imprisonment|
|West Bengal Gambling and Prize Competitions Act, 1957||West Bengal||₹200 fine + 1 month imprisonment|
Other Gambling Laws in India:
|Name of the Legislation||Area||Maximum Penalty|
|Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA)||PAN India||₹2,00,000 fine|
|Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA)||PAN India||₹1,00,000 fine|
Who Is liable?
- The owner of the illegal gambling ring/casino;
- The manager of the illegal gambling ring/casino; &
- The person gambling
Online Gambling Laws in India
Online gambling laws in India lack clarity regarding which activities fall under the category of ‘game of chance’ and which ones do not. India-based gambling activities on the internet are largely assumed to be illegal; however, that’s not the case with offshore online casinos.
Can Offshore/ Foreign Casinos Operate in India?
With no legal provisions on the books governing online offshore casinos in India at this time, these websites are deemed to be legal for use in the country as long as they are legally registered in a country with clear gambling laws.
As a result, you can enjoy your favourite games safely and securely from anywhere across the country without worrying about possible ramifications.
How To Claim Winnings From Gambling in India
To claim your winnings from a legally licensed land-based casino, you must obtain an official receipt from the casino for the amount of prize money. This can be done either by cash, cheque, through electronic transfer such as NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer), and other payment methods.
For online offshore casinos, the process is much simpler. Most online casinos offer withdrawal options such as e-wallets, credit/debit cards or bank transfers. After submitting the withdrawal request, you can expect to receive your winnings within 24 hours to five business days, depending on the payment method.
State Lottery Winnings
In the case of a state lottery, the winning amount will be transferred to the bank account which is registered with the lottery agency. All winnings must be claimed within 30 days of the draw date, and any claims made after this time period may not be honoured.
It is mandatory for you to submit valid government-issued ID proof, such as PAN Card or Aadhaar card in order to claim your winnings.
Gambling Tax in India
Anyone who earns more than ₹10,000 from gambling in a single year is required to report such income in their annual tax form, and pay tax on it.
The tax levied on all winnings from gambling activities, like lotteries, horse racing, casino games, and so on will be 30% as laid down by the Central Income Tax Act, 1961, with the amendments introduced with the Finance Act of 1986.
Moreover, regardless of income brackets, an additional 4% Health and Education Cess is imposed on the amount due in income tax. If you manage to win more than ₹50 lakhs, an additional 10% surcharge will be charged. If it’s over ₹1 crore, the extra tax is a hefty 15%.
Casino Licence Fees in India
- Application Fees (one time, non-refundable) — ₹50,000
- Annual Licence Fees (based on how many years the casino has been in business) — ₹25,00,000 – ₹50,00,000
- Royalty Fees — 0.5% of annual gross revenue
It is essential to note that as per gambling laws in India, only local Indian companies can apply for a land-based casino licence in the country, and not foreign entities. Moreover, the licence will remain valid for up to five years before needing renewal.
Social Responsibility of the Gambling Industry
The gambling industry in India has a responsibility to ensure that all players are treated with respect and fairness. This means providing clear information regarding game procedures, protecting the privacy of customers, and ensuring safe, responsible gambling practices.
Gambling Laws In India Conclusion
We hope that this article has helped you gain a better understanding of gambling laws in India. Whether you choose to play online, with a state-run lottery or at at a land-based casino, it’s important to stay informed about the laws in your state and make sure you are playing at legal, licensed casinos for a safe gambling experience.
1. Does the government of India provide any assistance or support to problem gamblers?
No, unfortunately, the government of India does not provide any assistance or support to problem gamblers. However, there are various NGOs and private organisations such as the National Council on Problem Gambling (1800-6-668-668), National Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) and Gamblers Anonymous (GA) India (+91 8826904945) that offer counselling and other services.
2. Are casinos legal in India?
Land-based domestic casinos are legal in only three states: Goa, Sikkim and Daman. Online domestic casinos are illegal throughout the country, whereas online offshore casinos are not explicitly banned and are therefore deemed legal at the moment.
3. Is lottery legal in India?
Only state-sponsored lottery is legal in India, that too, in 13 states only: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Goa and Meghalaya. Online lottery is banned unless it is a foreign lottery. There is no prohibition for online international lotteries offering their services in India.