India boasts a population of over 1.3 billion, with the number of people gaining access to the internet – primarily via mobile phones – increasing at a tremendous rate. As such, several online-based industries are looking to approach the Indian market. Mobile gaming already totes hundreds of millions of players on the subcontinent, and yet one of the most globally expansive and adaptive forms of gaming, that of online casino gaming, is still very much in its infancy in India.
As is the case in many new jurisdictions capable of hosting an iGaming scene, the gambling laws in place across much of India are archaic in the current space. The transition of casino gaming from land-based venues to the online space has been swift, and the online space has, itself, advanced a great deal since. Modern platforms feature everything from hundreds of slot games through to online cricket betting, and so, the right brand could be very appealing in India.
However, due to the lack of clarity from the statute side of things, many people don’t know if or where online gambling and online betting is legal in India.
The laws of India on gambling
Indian gambling law is determined on a state-by-state basis, with each of the states and union territories being in charge of regulating gambling within their borders. In 2000, India updated its legal framework to introduce the Information Technology Act, which governs cyber activities. However, it decidedly avoided the topics of betting and gambling, with courts further avoiding creating a judicial precedent to clarify the matter.
As it stands, only Daman, Goa, and Sikkim regulate a gambling scene, with all three hosting casino venues. Under the Goa Act, licences for offering casino products offshore are available in Daman, Diu, and Goa. Under the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act 2008, operators are allowed to apply for a licence to offer online casino games within the state. In 2010, three available Sikkim licences went without being awarded.
How does online gambling work in India?
With cricket being such a tremendously popular sport in India, companies in India have, naturally, wanted to introduce online cricket betting. However, those that have been able to offer online gambling services, online cricket betting, and other online betting have been international (otherwise known as offshore) platforms. The same goes for online casino gaming, with non-Indian casino companies able to offer games, including the biggest slot games in the world from the likes of Red Tiger Gaming, iSoftBet, Leander Games, and several others.
The laws of online gambling in India are ambiguous, to say the least. While states govern Indian gaming within their borders, there are also instances of cross-state gambling services. For example, Sikkim runs its own online lottery, but their game of luck is available across the country. Overall, India appears to be more open to international gambling offerings that Indian-based providers creating platforms for their compatriots.
Indian casinos can’t have their own online gambling platforms, but operators based and licensed abroad can, provided that they cater to payments being made in Indian Rupees.