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Ajith Kumar
Gambling Laws
Updated: 28.05.2023

Gambling Laws in India | Online Games of Skill & of Chance

For centuries, the legality of online gambling has been a subject of extensive discussion throughout India. Nowadays, online casinos are easily accessible in the country, but understanding the legal framework and Casino Licenses is crucial to enjoying them fully. That is why you should be aware of the laws on gambling in India when choosing a game to play.

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Is Online Gambling Legal in India?

Online gambling in India is not explicitly prohibited by any legislation, leaving it in a legal gray zone. This outdated approach to gambling laws in India has resulted in the widespread availability of online casinos. The National Gambling Act prohibits gambling in “common gaming houses,” but it fails to mention online devices explicitly.

You can observe the absence of clear legal direction on the matter. There are no reported instances of players facing legal consequences for participating in online casino games within India. As a result, the answer to the query “Is gambling legal in India?” is not simple and calls for more explanation.

Gambling Laws in India

Indian laws for gambling are centered around games of chance and skill, which are governed by the Public Gambling Act of 1867. However, each state and union territory in India can either adhere to this Act or regulate gambling within its jurisdiction.

Consequently, some states have enforced a complete ban on gambling while others have legalized it. However, it is worth noting that the existing legislation fails to explicitly address online gambling, leaving a gray area in its legality.

Public Gambling Act

Despite being established in 1867, the Public Gambling Act of India has failed to provide clear legal direction on gambling laws. The Act distinguishes between games of skill, which are legal, and games of chance, which are not. It also specifies that owning, operating, or visiting a “common gaming house” is illegal.

However, the lack of clarity in the legislation has left room for ambiguity, creating challenges in the regulation of gambling in India.

Games of Skill

Games of skill are those games that involve a significant amount of skill and knowledge to win.

These games are not entirely based on chance; the player’s ability to make strategic decisions and employ tactics can increase their chances of winning. Here are some examples of game types that fit this category:

  • Chess: Chess is a strategic board game that requires a high level of skill and knowledge to play. The purpose of this game is to checkmate your competitor’s king.
  • Poker: Poker is a card game that involves a combination of skill, strategy, and luck. Players bet on the strength of their cards and the ability to bluff their opponents to win.
  • Rummy: Rummy is a card game that requires players to form sets and sequences using the cards in their hand. To win, you must use a combination of skills, tactics, and pure chance.

Games of skill require players to use their knowledge, strategy, and decision-making skills to increase their chances of winning. Playing these games can be a fun and challenging way to improve cognitive skills and compete with others.

Games of Chance

Games of chance are those games where the outcome is primarily determined by luck, and players have little or no control over the outcome.

Here are some examples of game types that fit this category:

  • Roulette: Roulette is a casino game in which participants wager on the exact position of a ball on a rotating wheel. The outcome is entirely random, and players have no influence over it.
  • Slot Machines: Slot machines are a type of casino game where players bet on the outcome of spinning reels. The result is entirely random and determined by a computer program.
  • Bingo: Bingo is a chance game in which participants mark off numbers on a bingo board as they are called out. The first person to cross off all of the numerals on their card wins.

While these games are considered illegal in India, they continue to be easily accessible online due to outdated laws for gambling. With the increasing penetration of mobile casino and affordable smartphones, playing chance-based games online has become more convenient and widespread than ever before.

Online Gambling Laws on Sports Betting

In India, sports betting is illegal under the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which prohibits all forms of betting and gambling activities. However, the laws on gambling do not explicitly mention online gambling, leaving it in a legal gray area.

Some states in India have their own laws on gambling, and there have been discussions about regulating and legalizing sports betting at the national level. Nonetheless, Indian sports bettors should exercise caution and only participate in online sports betting through reputable and licensed offshore operators.

Online Gambling Laws on Horse Racing

In India, it may come as a surprise that horse racing and betting on the sport is classified as a game of skill, despite being a form of sports betting. This classification was established in 1996 through the Lakshmanan case, where the Madras High Court ruled that understanding the performance of the horse and jockey requires skill, making horse racing a game of skill. As a result, betting on horse racing can be legally carried out at various racecourses across India or at approved betting shops.

Tax on Online Gambling

In India, all forms of taxes are regulated by the Income Tax Act of 1961, including regulations on gambling winnings, whether online or offline. According to this act, all prize money is taxed at a flat rate of 30%. Local casinos typically charge a 30% TDS on winnings, meaning the tax amount is deducted at the source before the winner receives their prize cash.

While specific laws on gambling in India may vary from state to state, the national tax act simplifies determining the tax owed on gambling winnings, regardless of the player’s location.

Main Idea of Gambling Laws in India

When gambling in India, steer clear of any locations considered “common gaming houses,” as these are illegal under the Public Gambling Act of 1867. Several Indian states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka, have stringent laws against online gambling, meaning that playing from these states is risky, even when playing online. Still, there are several states that have updated their laws to reflect modern gambling habits.

Discover More Guides On Gambling Laws


Are casinos legal in India?

Land-based casinos are only legal in three Indian states: Sikkim, Daman, and Goa. Whereas online casinos are in a legal gray area.

Are all types of online gambling considered illegal in accordance with laws in India?

Only chance-based games are outside the law in India. However, games of skill, such as online poker and rummy, are considered legal.

What age is it acceptable to play at casinos by gambling laws in India?

State-by-state variations exist in India's legal age for gambling. The minimum age is 18. However, in a few places, it is 21.

What is the minimum deposit required in agreement with online gambling laws?

The minimum deposit does not depend on laws. It varies between online gambling platforms, typically around 500 to 1000 INR.

Can I play online casino games with a live dealer on international websites by laws for gambling?

It is technically legal to play online casino games like Teen Patti or Bingo on international websites from India. You can use reputable websites to ensure a safe and legal gambling experience.