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Laws of Online Gambling in India

Submitted by asandil on


In the fast-evolving digital world, Gambling problems have become increasingly problematic around the world recently. According to an article published by the world's leading magazine, approximately 40 % of internet users in India have gambled and it has been suggested that India may overtake the United Kingdom as gamblers per capita. Online gaming is carried out on a digital platform in the same way as actual gambling at brick & mortar casinos and sporting events. People can take advantage of a number of Internet sites to play secrets where and when they aren't known about it. It hasn't been possible before. The bet is placed using credit cards instead of cash, and both the winning and loss shall be paid in electronic form. There are so many types of gambling available on the internet, such as poker, horse racing wagers, casino gaming machines, blackjack, roulette, and sports betting. Even though the basics of gambling remain the same, many people who love the glitz of casinos or the excitement of crowds cheering at sporting events discover that when they gamble online, they miss out on these experiences.

What is Online Gambling?

It is true that gambling is defined in the Indian Constitution. Any activity or endeavor that is entered into or conducted with the consciousness of the danger of winning or losing (e.g., prize competitions, a wagering contract) is included as gambling, according to the law. This includes activities or undertakings whose outcome is determined by chance or accident. Internet-based wagering is referred to as online gambling. It takes place in an online setting. Poker, casino, and sports betting are all included in this.

How does online gambling work?

People can browse online casinos that accept INR without worrying about penalties. Credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, and cryptocurrency are the most popular ways to bank at online casinos. Indians enjoy playing card games, and Teen Patti and Rummy are particularly popular.


Is online gambling legal in India?

In India, gambling is a state-regulated activity, hence each state is free to establish its own regulations for betting and gaming. The main piece of legislation on the subject is the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which outlaws all games of chance other than lotteries and games of skill. Any infraction of the legislation would result in a fine of 200 Indian rupees or a maximum sentence of three months in jail.

However, when it comes to internet gambling, there is a lack of uniformity and clarity in the legislation across the nation. The majority of the regulations that Indian states have implemented to regulate these activities make an exception for games of skill. These laws are somewhat dated.

There is only one decision that addressed online gambling and made the following ruling: M/s Gaussian Networks Pvt. Ltd. v. Monica Lakhanpal and the State of NCT.

  • If players are drawn to a game solely because of the prize money, it is deemed illegal. 
  • In virtual platforms, any game of skill played for the purpose of gaining money would be illegal, even though it would be legal in the physical world. 
  • If a game that involves a game of skills is played with stakes, then it does not constitute gambling.
  • Since it would encourage online gambling, gaming sites are prohibited from joining the winning hands.

As a result, the precedent created by this case cannot be used anymore because it was rejected during the revision petition's closing arguments. Having said that, Telangana was among the first governments to outlaw internet gambling with legislation in 2017. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and, most recently, Karnataka were the next states to do so. The most recent state to join the list of those that have outlawed online gambling in Karnataka. It was subsequently made clear to everyone that the Union's authorities must block gambling websites and portals in order for the ban to be completely implemented. Rummy and poker portals have long opposed all of these bans, and the Madras High Court was recently compelled to undo the gains made by the amendments. The population that commonly participates in virtual gaming is extremely outraged as a result of this.

Other laws that have restrictions on the promotion of gambling include the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999, the Prize Competition Act 1955, the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2010, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2022, and the Cable Television Network Rules 1994.

The government has been attempting to enact legislation that controls gambling because, if properly and legally taxed, it would not only prevent people from losing money but also produce income for the economy. India is a developing market with significant potential for the gambling industry; quite a few foreign businesses are eager in setting up operations there.

Punishment for Illegal Online Gambling in India

Twelve of the customers of an internet gambling ring that had been busted in Delhi in 2018 were detained by police for breaking the local gambling regulations. This highlights the fact that operating an online casino has become quite simple due to the increased use of technology and internet connectivity. There is no explicit punishment for internet gambling because most laws don't specify it; instead, a general rule from the aforementioned laws applies.


In conclusion, India's internet gambling rules and regulations are complicated and dynamic. The potential legal repercussions of engaging in online gambling activities should be understood by people even though the legal landscape is not totally clear. The government's attempts to stop unlawful gambling by enforcing stringent laws and punishing offenders show how serious they are about safeguarding residents from the harmful impacts of gaming. In the end, safe and pleasurable online gambling may be achieved in India by following responsible gaming habits and remaining knowledgeable about the regulatory environment.