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Is Teen Patti legal or Illegal in India?

Teen Patti or Flush is a gambling card game i.e. widely available online nowadays. But, do you know most of the casino sites that feature teen Patti in their menu are based out of India? 

Indian gambling laws are governed by PGA,1867. Games of luck and games of skills have been categorized differently. Skill-based games like Rummy are considered legal while luck-based games like Teen Patti are illegal to play.

The constitution of India has given full authority to state legislations to alter the gambling laws within their state boundaries. So, that is quite confusing. 

That’s why players prefer to play online teen Patti at foreign-based casino sites. As there is no fear of getting arrested or any legal repercussions.

Teen Patti has been socially accepted and is already a part of India’s culture. Still; the decision of making it an illegal game seems to be illogical.

India is among the top 5 most populous countries. So it’s obvious many people love to play card games, casino games and bet on sports events. Unfortunately, the rules and regulations to play these games are pretty unclear.

In this article, we have interpreted the PGA, 1867 and the Indian laws enacted by different state legislations in India. So, you’ll have a better idea.

Let’s start from the basic!

Public Gaming Act(PGA), 1867

As you can see the year 1867 itself reveals how old is Indian gambling law? This gaming act was passed by Britishers about 150 years ago. India was not even an independent country then.

The point is, why is this still being followed and part of the constitution? Adding more, if any punter found gambling is bound to pay the penalty of a minimum of 200 INR/- and imprisonment of a minimum of 3 months. In some harsh cases, you can be penalized for both.

Also, at that time no one was certain about the internet and online gaming, casino sites etc. So this unreasonable PGA,1867 contains no information about online games.

According to the Indian constitution of gambling i.e. also unclear, any such game that involves the risk of losing money is strictly prohibited. Further, the law has categorized games as:

  • Game of Skills: Rummy, Poker, Horse Racing. Cricket, football etc. are not a part of gambling.
  • Game of Chance: Teen Patti, casino games, sports betting is the pure form of gambling and is illegal

Many a time this act has been amended, but of no use. It’s still foggy and unclear. Most of the games including Teen Patti, Poker etc. stays in the grey zone.

Online Gambling in India

The online gambling status in India has always been in the grey area. PGA, 1867 does not mention anywhere about online casino games. So you can say, it’s neither legal nor illegal.

It has always been a topic of debate, but unfortunately never reached the solution. There is always a fear of legal repercussions; that definitely needs to be improvised. 

If the casino operators wish to start an online casino business or online card games in India, they will have to undergo many formalities and  follow the complex guidelines of Indian laws:

  • Indian Penal Code (1860), 
  • Code of criminal procedure (1973)
  • Information Technology Act (2000), 
  • Public Gambling Act (1867) 
  • Money laundering Issues 
  • Taxation
  • Online Payment Options

Intermediary Guidelines (Rules) 2011, the part of ITA (2000) is an amendment of this act. Under this act, the government has the authority to block the casino sites at any time without any prior notice.

Section 3(2)(b) of the intermediary act do have some provisions for online gambling offences. But still, it’s very complicated and Teen Patti has not been mentioned anywhere. 

So, What’s the fun of taking a risk?  The international casino sites are already featuring Indian traditional games such as Andar Bahar, Rummy and Teen Patti etc.

Good news: Playing real money teen Patti is absolutely legal and safe unless and until you play on international online casino sites.

The central government of India does not hold any control over foreign casino sites. So Indian players can freely play online teen Patti anywhere and anytime on these sites. 

Make sure your selected casino site owns a license from trusted gaming authorities like MGA( Malta gaming authority), UK gambling commission, Curacao, Gibraltar and so on.

List of states with liberal gambling laws:

There are some states in India like Goa, Kerala, Nagaland and Maharashtra etc. that have legalized card gambling ( including Teen Patti), lottery games and sports betting.

As per the 7th schedule of the constitution; states have been given full authority to make/break gambling laws within their own state territory. 

Let’s take an overview of gambling laws in various states of India:

  • Laws in Maharashtra: As Teen Patti involves a part of skills also, So this card game is considered legal in this state as per section 13 of Bombay prevention of gambling act, 1887.
  • Laws in Sikkim: The state follows the Sikkim Online gaming Act, 2008 that was further amended in 2015. Teen Patti is legal in land-based casinos as well as in online Indian casino sites within the state boundary.
  • Laws in Nagaland: The state enacted the law in 2015. It is referred to as Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling &Promotion & Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act. Online Teen Patti is considered a combination of skill and luck. So it is legal to play this game.
  • Laws in Goa: Casino operators are allowed to regulate teen Patti and other casino games. The condition is they have to ask for a license from the goa government and pay known and unknown taxes. The state follows the Goa, Daman & Diu public gaming Act, 1976.

Court Verdicts on Gambling:

Take a look at the 3 important decisions of the supreme court that changed the definition of gambling and brought some liberty in gambling laws of the country.

  • In the 1957 case, R.M.D. Chamarbaugwala versus Union of India; the apex court concluded that any gambling game like Teen Patti, Rummy that involves even a part of skill will be considered as the game of Skill.
  • In the 1968 case of Andhra Pradesh state against K. Satyanarayana, the court allowed the websites to collect a small recurring fee for providing skill games like rummy.
  • In the 1996 case of K.R. Lakshmanan versus the State of Tamil Nadu. it was declared that horse racing is a game of skill and is 100% legal.

But still, we can say that the age-old gambling laws hold their values. As many petitions of the online casino industry are dismissed in courts.

Final Verdict: Is Online Teen Patti Legal?

Teen Patti has been legalized in many states of India like Goa, Sikkim as mentioned above. But Still, there are some confusions as the game is legal within the state boundary only. And, What if you do not belong to that state? That means you’ll have to visit the state i.e. quite not possible and uncomfortable. 

We have one solution for all. As per our opinion, it is best to play Teen Patti and other casino games at online casino sites that are based out of India. Another option is to download free teen Patti apps available on your Android/iOS smartphones.

Moving on, online teen Patti is 100% safe and legal on foreign-based casino sites like 10CRIC, Luckyniki etc. Also, they offer you to play free or real money teen Patti with Paytm, G-Pay and other convenient payment options.