It goes without saying that online casinos are the future of the gambling industry. On a global scale, they’ve had more than $60 billion in annual revenue in 2019 and 2020. Experts state that their popularity will continue to rise. It is expected that by 2023, online casinos will be the biggest profit-makers in the gambling industry.
India is a very popular online casino market, but as we are about to see, the relationship that the authorities have with this industry is a bit complicated. We’ll be taking a look at how online casinos are regulated in India, what law determines their legality, what are the most popular online casino games, etc.
What Law Regulates Casino in India?
The law that regulates all forms of gambling in India is the Public Gambling Act of 1867. According to this law, gambling is legal in just three states – Goa, Sikkim, and Daman. Furthermore, it states that it is illegal to run or be in charge of a public casino facility. There is a penalty for those that break this law. People may be fined as much as ₹200 or even face up to three years in prison.
Games of skill are excluded from this law and they are considered legal. With that being said, some of the games that are considered games of skill and are legal in India is horse racing betting, sports betting, and the lottery. According to the Lotteries Act of 1998, each province is allowed to run its own lottery.
But, when it comes to online casinos, the situation is far more complex.
Online Casino’s Legality in India
The Gambling Act of 1867 is considered to be way outdated as it does not have any specific regulations for the online gambling industry. Even though it is formally stated that online casinos are illegal in India, they fall under the law’s grey area. Here’s how.
While online casinos are not allowed to be based and operate in India, off-shore sites are more than welcome to offer their services to Indian players. Since Indian law does not apply to off-shore online casinos, authorities cannot pursue or penalize them.
Hence, these sites operate in the Indian market. Not only that, but as we mentioned earlier, India is one of the most sought out markets for the online casino industry. The government rarely penalizes its residents for registering and playing at foreign online casinos. Players often use VPNs to access these sites.
The only Indian state that regulates online gambling to some extent is Sikkim. With the Sikkim Online Gaming Act of 2008, players in this province can access and legally play games such as roulette, blackjack, keno, bingo, poker, poker dice, and baccarat.
There is one thing that Indian players always need to keep in mind though. Unlicensed online casinos can operate in this region and they are often considered scam sites. So, when registering at online casinos, Indian players must check whether the online casino is licensed by an international regulatory body or not. Some of the most popular authorities of this character are the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission.
Is Online Gambling Legalized in India?
India somewhere falls in a grey area in terms of online gambling. This means it is not entirely illegal if they are regulated from another country. Before entering any online gambling site, please check the state laws once since gambling is illegal in a few states in India. But taking into account that no one has been punished to date for gambling in India.
While rewinding the pages of history, you can see that in 1867, the Indian Government cracked down on public gambling houses, which are not maintaining any order, and popping up unperturbed gambling throughout the country. India stood for the emergence of the Public Gambling Act to fight against this mischievousness. Being a centralized law, it gave penalty orders to run many public gambling houses of that time.
Despite these centralized laws, each state can adjust or amend specific laws from its end. Thus, Goa, Daman, and Sikkim have their own legalized brick-and-mortar casinos. Many states in India have the right to access the internet gambling laws. You can freely place your bets online without having a fear of any punishment.
By 2000, the government had released a few laws to deal with cybercrime, so they enacted Information Technology Law in India. The act was amended to control cyber crimes by prescribing relevant penalties to stop cheating people through these gambling sites.
Gambling Licenses & Regulation
An online casino site needs a gambling license to be legally operated anywhere in the world. These gambling licenses provide them various jurisdictions of a country. It allows the casino to run legal gambling websites in more than one country across the globe. These licenses are essential for a casino as they prove that it is running in a fair and secured way for the customers of India.
Gambling is known as the play of chance, so there is a clear distinction between the game of skills and opportunity in India. Game chance says that knowledge or skills can affect the gambling outcome, but taking the skill part, several strategies are built, which helps the player win the match.
Thus, according to Indian Laws, betting on skilled games is legal. For instance, Rummy is a game of skills, as it requires a certain level of talent for the players to play the game. Hence, it is legalized in India. Other games played by the Indian gamblers are Teen Patti, Blackjack, Roulette, Indian Flush, and Andar Bahar.
Most Popular Online Casino Games in India
Now that we are familiar with the fact that online casino gaming is extremely popular in India and the government cannot regulate this market, it is worth mentioning the most popular online casino games in India.
The list includes poker, slots, Andar Bahar, roulette, and live dealer games. Live dealer games have recorded a spike in popularity recently as they provide players with a unique gaming experience. As the name of the game category suggests, live dealer games are hosted in real-time. Players join the game via a stream and wager on the games live. These games are also interactive as players can chat with the dealer.
As for the most popular payment methods, e-wallets such as Neteller are the most commonly chosen methods to deposit and withdrawing money. Credit and debit cards are used from time to time, but they can fail. One honourable mention is cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. They have tons of advantages which are why Indian players have been using them a lot recently.
Will Online Casinos Ever be Legalized in India?
The future of online casinos in India is hard to determine. The government does not seem open to legalizing and regulating this industry, which is a massive problem. It is a fact that Indian players will always find ways to access and play online casino games, which is why they have been pressuring the authorities to legalize these sites.
Not only will players be able to access casino games legally, but there are several economic benefits from regulating this industry. Tax money and numerous employments are just a few to mention.
Future of Online Gambling in India
Real-world casinos operating in the states like Goa and Sikkim, attracting customers all over India so it is sort of a hopeful wish that the Indian government will open up to online casinos. .
India is a country that has shown many revolutionaries in several sectors, and they are paving their way in this gambling sector soon. India is taking initiatives to regulate online casino gambling in many other states to generate more revenue from this sector. India is making up calls to make online gambling regulated in the future. The Indian government can acquire taxes over different online casino companies to make the country wealthier.
The issue of regulating or introducing online casino gambling in India is a talk of concern in the Indian Parliament. Until the Federal Indian Government takes any immutable laws, it is safe to say that playing online casinos in India is legal and free from any bitter consequences.
India will come up with many federal laws to make gambling legalized, maintain the security of financial transactions, and keep players’ data confidential from any fraud and cheat. However, the number of online casinos available to cater to Indian gamblers is enough for a wide collection of games. The tendency of opting for such sites is noticeable in gamblers as well. Hence, within a few years, many more players from across the country will indulge in the games to earn higher returns.
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