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Is Online Casino Legal In India?

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Online casinos involve using the internet to place bets on the outcomes of various games and making money in virtual environments. Online casinos have become quite popular in India. According to a report by The Week, per capita gamblers in India may be significantly more than those in the United Kingdom. 

However, one needs to follow some rules and regulations to play these games online for money. Furthermore, only a few states in India legally allow playing this game online. In this blog, you will learn whether online casinos are legal in India and other important details associated with it.

Are Online Casino Games Legal in India?

While the Constitution of India defines gambling as activities influenced by chance or any activity undertaken with awareness of the risk, the legality of online gambling in India varies across states.

The Public Gambling Act of 1867 prohibits all games of chance, except games of skill and lotteries. States have enacted their own online gambling laws in India, often allowing exemptions for games of skill. However, the distinction between chance and skill can be ambiguous, leading to interpretations by the Indian judiciary. For example, Poker, which is a game of skill, is banned in various parts of India. 

There is no explicit rule under the Public Gambling Act mentioning whether online betting is legal or illegal in India. Goa, Sikkim, and Daman are some places which have legalised playing online casino games in India. 

What are the Gambling Laws in India?

In India, the gambling law focuses on games of skill and games of chance. The game of skills requires an individual to apply their skills, while games of chance are games whose outcomes are determined with some random device. Moreover, online casinos are legal in India if the particular casino game comes under the game of skills. On the other hand, chance-based games are considered illegal in India. However, these games are widely available on various online websites and legality is determined based on state laws. 

What are the Different Types of Online Casino Games Available in India? 

The following section highlights different types of online casino games legal in India:

Poker

Poker is a card-based game where the player with the best cards emerges victorious. In India, online casinos often host large poker tournaments with substantial prizes, reaching tens or even hundreds of dollars. The widespread appeal of poker contributes to its immense popularity in the online gambling scene.

Slots

Originally introduced in Las Vegas, physical slot machines gained popularity for their simple gameplay. Online casinos in India have embraced this game, incorporating animations, sound effects, and visuals to mimic the experience of traditional slot machines. Known for their simplicity, these games often feature themes and aesthetics that enhance their appeal, making slot machines a favoured choice in online gambling.

Teen Patti

Teen Patti, also known as "Three Cards" in English, is a popular card game in India which involves strategic betting and skillful play. Players aim to have the best three-card hand, and the game often includes variations that add excitement. Teen Patti has become a cultural favourite, providing entertainment and a social gaming experience.

Blackjack

In India, Blackjack, also known as twenty-one, stands out as one of the straightforward online games. Players engage in a round table game, competing against the dealer. The objective is to reach a total of 21 points with the cards to win the game. It is a game of strategy and luck that adds excitement to the online casino experience.

Roulette

Recognisable from movies like James Bond, Roulette is a game featured in both physical and online casinos in India. Players bet on a number with a specific colour as the spinning wheel determines the outcome. The simplicity of the rules allow players to place multiple wagers on a single number, providing an engaging and potentially rewarding experience.

What are the Issues Related to Online Casinos in India?

Here are the different concerns related to online casinos in India:

Financial and Social Challenges

Engaging in online casino games can become highly addictive, causing significant financial loss and social problems. Due to its easy accessibility, players may unknowingly spend extended periods and substantial amounts of money.

Lack of Regulation

Online casino games often operate without proper regulation, creating opportunities for fraudulent activities. This lack of oversight increases the risk of players losing money or falling victim to compromised personal information.

Potential for Money Laundering

Online gambling platforms can serve as avenues for money laundering.

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

Various online gambling sites are susceptible to cyber-attacks, posing a threat to the security of players’ sensitive personal and financial details.

Social Isolation

Participating in online gambling may lead to social detachment, with players spending long hours online, potentially reducing interaction with family and friends. 

What is the Government’s Point of View Regarding Online Casinos?

Certain betting and gambling platforms utilise outdoor media like hoardings, posters, banners, and auto rickshaw branding for promotional activities. These advertisements were deemed misleading and not fully compliant with the Consumer Protection Act of 2019.

Given the issues related to betting and gambling, there are concerns about financial and socio-economic risks, especially for the youth and children. Additionally, the government has raised objections to a specific betting platform promoting a sports league on its website, potentially violating the Copyright Act.  

In conclusion, it is not entirely clear whether online casinos are legal in India. It is important for you to understand the legal laws and consequences of these games before participating in them.  

The future of online gambling in India remains ambiguous as the digital world witnesses a rise in gambling. As technology advances and more people access online platforms, it remains to be seen whether the future of online gambling in India takes a more favourable direction.