India stands as a complicated gambling jurisdiction, with laws threatening heavy punishment, although these appear to be rarely, if at all, enforced at the player level. While there are no laws that explicitly ban or permit online gambling, no such sites are actually based within India, forcing players to rely on overseas casino sites to bet. Thankfully, many online casinos and betting sites permit Indian players to register, deposit and withdraw money.
Online casino sites for players in India
Best India casino sites
Wintingo: Wintingo offers the latest and greatest online casino games from the world’s best service providers, including Net Entertainment, Microgaming and iSoftBet. There are multiple deposit options as well as 24/7 support, and a current online welcome promotion, which offers $500 on sign-up plus 50 free spins.
Slots Million: Slots Million has more than 1000 slot games from all of the best software providers, offering up more than 10 different deposit methods, and no withdrawal limit. There’s currently a 100% sign-up bonus up to $100.
Dunder: Dunder is one of the most trusted and best online casinos. It has more than 600 slot games as well as a host of popular casino games including poker, roulette, blackjack, and more. It promises a RTP (return to play) of 97% on all slots, and is currently offering a 200% matched deposit bonus up to $50, as well as 180 free spins on Starburst.
Guts: Gut is a great desktop and mobile casino that offers a wide range of fantastic games to choose from. It is regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority, an independent organisation, and offers a number of different withdrawal and deposit options for players. Sign up today for a 100% welcome bonus up to $400, plus 100 free spins.
Overview of gambling in India
With a population of more than one billion people, India stands are one of the largest countries and economies on the planet. It comes as no surprise, then, that gambling is incredibly popular, even if its legality raises a lot of questions. Sports betting stands as the number one form of gambling in the country, generally focused around the national sport of cricket. Horse race betting is also a popular form of betting. Card games such as blackjack and poker are also incredibly popular, with many countless people making a living by playing these casino games of skill online.
Horse racing has increased in popularity in recent years, although it’s always been among India’s most popular pastimes. There are a number of large race meets held throughout the year across the country’s vast landscape, and these events almost always attract very large crowds. Despite the country’s confusing legality issues, bookmakers are permitted to openly trade and take bets at these meets. Horse racing has actually been legalised in a number of states.
India also permits lotteries, which are also incredibly popular. The country seems to favour games of skill over chance when it comes to better, but lotteries appear to be the exception to the rule, perhaps due to the revenue generated nature of the game for the states. The states have the right to determine whether or not they will have a lottery, with only one draw per week, per state permitted.
Online casino and gambling laws in India
India may very well be the only country on the planet that applies a 100-plus year old law to its enforcement of gambling. It relies on the Public Gaming Act of 1867 to apply law on gambling, and while this law was initially relevant to the ten states that were at the time of its implementation under British rule, it now includes all states.
This legislation says it is illegal to create, host and manage a venue where gambling takes place. Now, as we know, this has some exceptions, generally related to lotteries and horse betting. Outside of those events, it is also illegal to attend a gambling venue that falls outside of what each state considers legal. What’s strange, however, is that the act never explicitly mentions what gambling actually is, which makes it difficult for the government to truly govern, and for the people to truly understand what’s right and what’s wrong. The general rule is that a game of skill is permitted, while a game of chance like roulette is not. However, there’s no clear distinction of either. The Indian constitution, however, makes it clear what gambling is, and lawmakers apply this when dealing with a gambling-related matter.
The constitution makes it clear any game in which you risk to win or lose money is gambling. One might think this rules out pretty much every single form of betting – including lotteries – although the law changes state to start, and even some federal laws contradict both what the Gaming Act says, and what the Constitution says.
Can you gamble online from India?
Unsurprisingly, the Gaming Act makes no reference of online gambling, because it was written and applied in 1867. There is the Information Technology Act of 2000, however, which makes certain online offences illegal. While neither Act directly mentions online gambling, there could be provisions that make certain acts – such as online gambling – illegal. However, without explicitly mentioning it, it’s no surprise that the Indian government isn’t aggressive in its pursuit of online gamblers. The Indian government is within its power to block certain websites based on the act’s wording, but again, this is something it hasn’t gone to a great length to do with online casinos, probably due to the inconsistent nature of gambling laws throughout the country.
There is one state – Maharashtra – that is outright banned online gambling. That’s about as definitive a ruling on gambling as you’re going to get anywhere in India. Sikkim is a region that has rather loose gambling laws, having issue licenses to some gambling providers to operate within the state.
It would be wrong to straight out say that online gambling is legal in India, but it would be equally wrong to say it’s flat-out illegal. The reality is that it’s unclear. Most major online casino sites welcome Indian players, as they are bound by international jurisdictions and therefore do not need to abide by Indian law. It’s worth noting, however, that this does not mean it’s legal for the consumer: it’s just that it’s not illegal for the service to be provided to them.
The good news is that there are no obvious, explicit laws banning Indian players from visiting and playing at online casinos (unless you live in Maharashtra). It would be wrong of us to say outright that it’s legal, but there’s nothing to suggest it’s illegal and that you should avoid it. The general rule of thumb is that unless there’s an explicit law saying you can’t (as in Maharashtra), then you’re open to gamble online.
INR deposit option of online Indian gamblers
Unfortunately, due to the nature of gambling laws in India, none of our recommended online casinos accept INR as a direct currency. However, you can convert your funds from INR into any of the popular currencies used on the sites, including USD, GBP, Euro, and AUD. Most pre-paid cards allow you to purchase items in local currency, although generally there is a small currency conversion fee, so you will need to check on this ahead of making the deposit. These are the most popular deposit options available at all of our recommended online casino sites:
- Credit & debit cards – Visa, MasterCard, Entropay virtual Visa
- Web wallets – Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz
- Pre-paid cards – Paysafecard, Flexepin
- Bank transfers – Citadel Direct, direct bank wires