Last Updated by Nancy Sharma on August 23, 2023
Gambling is inherent in Indian culture and heritage, but it is generally illegal in India. More precisely, its legality is brought down to the state level; it means that it varies from one state to the next. The federal gambling law is over 150 years old, which is seriously outdated. However, online gambling is allowed in most Indian states on account of not having any legal base to prevent this action. Please read as I expand on this topic and bring you all the essential aspects of India’s online gambling laws.
Online gambling is allowed in India, but I would not go so far as to claim it is legal. The Federal Gambling law, known as the Public Gaming Act or PGA, was enacted in 1867 and does not mention online gambling. It does not make it legal or illegal as it puts online gambling in a gray area, not being prohibited or legally permitted. Thus, online gambling is possible for Indians in many states, except for Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh residents.
Although there are very few state laws related to online gambling in India, no one has ever been prosecuted for such an offense. Still, anyone looking to gamble online should know the legal ramifications and only join foreign online casino sites that accept players from India but have no legal ties to India, like Betway casino.
India comprises 28 states and 9 Union territories. While each of these abides by the PGA, many have state laws whose authority governs the current state of the legality of gambling on a state level. So, the status of this activity varies greatly from state to state, and the authorities in many Indian states turn a blind eye to online gambling. Below I created a table outlining the status of gambling, lottery, and sports betting in every Indian state:
|Indian State/Territory||Gambling Status||Lottery Status||Sports Betting Status|
|Arunachal Pradesh||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Assam||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Bihar||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Chhattisgarh||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Gujarat||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Haryana||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Himachal Pradesh||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Jharkhand||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Karnataka||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Kerala||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Madhya Pradesh||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Maharashtra||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Manipur||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Meghalaya||Legal||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Mizoram||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Odisha||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Punjab||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Rajasthan||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Tripura||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Uttar Pradesh||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|Uttarakhand||PGA/No Law||PGA/No Law||Horse race betting/PGA|
|West Bengal||PGA/No Law||Legal||Horse race betting/PGA|
Explanation: The fields with red mean that no gambling or sports betting activity is allowed; the fields with green mean all forms of gambling and sports betting are legal, and the fields with blue mean the PGA 1867 is in action, so online gambling and sports betting are possible
Despite the lack of relevant laws, no one has been charged for playing at an online casino site in India!
Let’s now discuss how the gambling laws in India and the separate Indian states affect different games. The PGA and subsequent laws in India have varied definitions of the various games, which are classified as games of chance and skill. Per the PGA, it is legal to play games of skill, while it is illegal to play games of chance; in the states where the PGA is in action, people can legally play games of skill.
|Games of skill||Games of chance|
|Rummy, Bridge, Poker||Slot games|
|Chess, Carom||Andar Bahar, Teen Patti|
Here is another vital aspect that can help you select the best game you can find at online casinos in India. Please keep in mind that you can only play these casino games at international online casino platforms:
Roulette – a game of chance where you place a bet on the number you think the ball will land on the roulette wheel. Since the ball gets spun in one way and the wheel spins another way, physics decides where the ball will land, and there is no skill involved in the outcome, and you can make roulette bets at an online casino that accepts Indians like Spin Casino.
Teen Patti – this is an Indian game of chance, but it is deeply rooted in Indian culture. Even though Indian laws don’t allow games of chance, it is tradition to play Teen Patti during Diwali and Janmashtami to call for good luck and abundance. Also, you can freely play Teen Patti online at your chosen international online casino like 10Cric.
Andar Bahar – a traditional card game, Andar Bahar is a game of chance that many Indians love to play. There is no skill involved in Andar Bahar, but you can still play it at your favorite online casino like Betway.
Baccarat – baccarat is a game of chance that many people love to play, and this game does not require the players’ input in the gameplay, but only on choosing their bets. Still, anyone from India can play baccarat at an online casino like 20Bet.
Poker – poker is one of few card games that involve skill, and as such, it is legal per Indian laws. So, anyone interested in poker can freely and legally play this game on an online platform that accepts Indian players like 888Casino.
Slots – online slots are a game of chance, and there is no predicting the outcome, as these are run by RNGs. So, per Indian laws, slots are illegal, but you can still spin your favorite reels at a foreign online casino like Spin Casino.
Jhandi Munda – another traditional Indian game, this one is a dice game of pure chance that you can play with your friends at home, or you can play online at top international online casinos like 20Bet.
Even though no law explicitly prevents access for Indian players to online casino platforms, there are accompanying laws that affect this action. The main is FEMA – Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999 and the Information Technology Act of 2000.
FEMA is a financial act not related to gambling but to online payments – the Act stipulates that Indian people can only deposit Indian Rupees at international platforms, including online casinos. So, as an Indian player, you can either deposit INR at your favorite online casino via an Indian payment method or use an electronic wallet payment system that can circumvent FEMA’s stipulations.
The Information Technology Act of 2000 is unrelated to the legality of online gambling in India, but it has a broad influence. It gives the Indian federal and state governments the right to block any foreign website they deem harmful to their citizens. I have to mention that this Act has been in use, and the Indian government has blocked various websites, among which are several casino sites without proper licensing. It is why I always remind you that you should only join a licensed and regulated online casino that ensures a safe, secure gaming experience.
Per Indian tax law, all types of income are taxable, including income from gambling, at a flat rate of 30%. If you gamble at a land-based casino in the Indian states where it is legal, the casino will withhold 30% of your winnings. If you are playing at an international online casino, you are legally obliged to declare your winnings and pay your taxes which should be filed under Income from Other Sources.
“You are only required to pay a 30% tax on winnings larger than ₹10,000.” – Rohit Parmar, casino expert at ProIndianCasinos.
You can gamble somewhat legally in India if you join a licensed, regulated foreign casino site that accepts players from India. There are many such platforms, so I suggest you follow my advice and only look for a reputable online casino that fulfills the following conditions:
Online gambling is in a gray area in India, with several states explicitly allowing it, some explicitly forbidding it, and the rest have no legal stipulation, making it possible for Indians to join international online casinos and gamble there.
No, not all Indian states have the same laws on gambling. Most abide by the PGA of 1867, meaning there is no stipulation related to online gambling, and some forbid and some allow gambling on a state level.
Goa, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Sikkim have explicit state laws legally allowing gambling; both land-based and online gambling are allowed in these states.
Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana explicitly forbid all types of gambling activities, including access to online casino sites.
Yes, all sorts of income in India, including online casino winnings greater than ₹10,000, are taxable under a 30% flat rate tax.
The tax rate on casino winnings in India is 30% and applies to winnings greater than ₹10,000.