Online casinos accepting players from India
Gambling is a time-honored pastime for many of the people of India. The country is home to more than 1.3 billion people with a middle class that doubled in size from 2004 to 2012 and includes over 600 million people. The economy shows sustained growth of over 7% each year.
While the "middle class" there may not be as well off as in some other countries, they still have the wherewithal to put some of that hard-earned tech and service sector cash at risk by gambling online.
Some forms of gambling online are legal and increasingly popular. Most gambling is illegal. The country's gambling laws are not necessarily cut and dried or black and white though when taken as a whole. They are mostly antiquated with the primary legislation dating back to 1867 - long before online gambling began.
Important Indian gambling laws
- The Public Gambling Act of 1867
- Prize Competition Act, 1955
- Lotteries (Regulation) Act of 1998
- The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999
- The Information Technology Act of 2000
- Sikkim Casinos (Control & Tax) Rules, 2007
- Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008
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State Laws and the Indian Constitution
The Indian Constitution gave the individual state governments the right to govern gambling when it was enacted in 1950. Complicating that though is the Public Gaming Act, 1867 which governs the entire country.
Many states took the path of least resistance and simply adopted the federal law over the years in various states of complexity. Others states such as Goa, Daman, and Sikkim legalized licensed physical casinos.
Most of the laws distinguish between games of chance and games of skill. Some separate out whether a game is played for profit or gain. Other laws legislate prize competition laws such as for crossword puzzle competitions.
Horse racing and fanstasy sports are considered to be games of skill. Poker and rummy cases have made their way through the courts regularly. Poker festivals seem to be legal, but rummy is a "dangerous activity" in some states.
Lottery, although purely a game of chance, is allowed but highly restricted. Ticket sales are legal in about a dozen states.
The more liberal operatives in government are constantly at loggerheads with the more conservative. Each side is buoyed by mostly archaic and often contradictory laws they believe support their positions.
As a practical matter, when internet service providers can and do block gambling websites - and - financial institutions block gambling transactions, the practice of online gambling is probably prohibited where you live.
However, there are exceptions to every rule, especially when rules seem to be in a permanent state of flux. As long as betting at a kiosk or in an "online gaming zone" in Sikkim can be legal one day for locals, and the next day the state government issues a notification making it illegal - we would err on the side of caution.
Indians Will Gamble
A legal framework of robust regulation could provide protections for the people of India. Tens of billions of dollars each year in underground, illegal betting could be tapped for revenues.
In July 2018 the Law Commission of India (LCI) submitted a report they had been tasked with two years earlier entitled, Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India. In the report, they suggest legalizing and regulating sports betting and other gambling. They suggest no foreign operators be able to provide legal gambling. The report can be found in its entirety here (PDF).
The government knows that the people of India enjoy betting - especially on sports and particularly on cricket. Citizens also find ways to get around road blocks that are placed in their way in order to access their favorite casino games. While possibly adding another element of illegality (FEMA 1999), they discover and invent ways to bypass obstructions put in their way by the governement, financial institutions, and internet service providers.
Online casino operators located offshore, who will never step foot in the country, are willing to provide services.
Some of those operators are less than savory. That's why it's important to read reviews from trusted portals, such as this, and choose an online casino or betting site carefully.
Accessing Online Casinos in India
Depending on a player's particular location and desires, roadblocks to gambling online could be presented. Be sure to check your state and any updated national laws before risking your funds or any possible trouble with authorities.
Software and Devices
Sites such as Bet365 can be blocked in several different ways by Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
- IP address filtering
- Content filtering
Virtual private networks or VPNs can defeat all three methods.
Online gambling sites can also block web traffic coming from certain locations based on your IP address. This can also be defeated by using a VPN.
If you have to use a VPN to access a website, there is a very strong likelihood gambling is not legal from your location. Other reasons could include licensing agreements between the casino and their content providers. However, these are usually mitigated by simply not allowing play on certain games from specific locales.
The first obvious danger of accessing a prohibited site is that it may be illegal. Another consideration is whether you will be breaking any terms and conditions of the betting site and thus lose your winnings after a successful session.
Players would need to consult a local legal professional to determine the first, and their casino host to determine the second.
Mobile Gaming in India
Device considerations go hand in hand with software both on the user end and by the operator.
About 500 million Indians use the internet. More than a quarter of the country's total population uses mobile devices. According to data from Statcounter.com, Android devices account for more than 80% of that usage.
The Android operating system supports HTML5 game deployment without the need to install an unsupported browser. This is good news for India Android casino players.
All live dealer casinos, Flash player games, and new industry standard HTML5 framework slots, tables, bingo, and lottery games will work with most handsets in the country.
All mobile sports betting apps are also supported.
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Payment Methods and Banking for Online Casinos in India
Indian online casino players will need to stay on top of their payment methods to avoid breaking any laws. We could suggest certain methods that would most likely not run afoul of the laws, such as...
But the Indian gambler's best bet may be to simply go to one of the casinos listed on this page and visit with live chat, or open an account and navigate to the cashier section and inquire about the current best methods for deposits and withdrawals. Especially in India, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
Thanks to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), transactions with Visa or Mastercard from the following financial institutions will most likely not be successful:
- American Express Credit Cards
- Axis Bank
- Bank of India
- Canara Bank
- HDFC Bank
- ICICI Bank
- Punjab National Bank
- SBI – State Bank of India
- UCO Bank
Bitcoin and Other Crytpocurrencies
We'd like to be able to suggest Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but the state of the digital currency ecosystem in the country is too turbulent with RBI exerting or exceeding their authorities.
If and when things have normalized and comfortable pathways exist to purchase and sell digital coins, excellent welcome bonuses and reload incentives are usually available at online casinos that accept players from India.
The Future of Gambling in India
India is the world's largest Democracy. Self-determined people have intrinsic values that allow them to rise above adversity and accomplish things that sometimes seem impossible to others. Present a problem, a challenge, or a puzzle to an Indian and you are likely to receive more than one solution.
We would only caution that players in India not only stay within the laws of their particular locale but also be wary of scam artists and even well-intentioned people who may offer less than safe alternatives and methods for funding their gambling pastime.
Perhaps in time more moderate voices will prevail in the current tug of war and cultural struggle over the question of legal gambling in India.
Regulating gambling and betting to capture billions in lost revenues annually going underground and offshore; providing transparency and consumer protections; keeping vulnerable persons safe by instituting responsible gambling limits, and protecting the integrity of sports by criminalizing match-fixing: All of these items are addressed in the Law Commission's report that was requested by the Supreme Court in 2016.
India Legal Gambling FAQ
The game libraries of these casino sites normally offer a wide range of options. Players can enjoy many different kinds of slots – video and classic slots, 3Ds and progressives, as well as all the regular table games – blackjack, roulette, craps, and the top casino poker variants.
Most casinos offer their players a Welcome Bonus, with a match up to 100% on their initial deposits. Players are advised to go through the terms and conditions of the bonus, just to make sure that it fits their needs and bankroll. Some of these bonuses may offer a match to more than just the first deposit, and players that aren’t looking to make that big of a commitment can find another offer – weekly reload bonus, cashback offer – that fits them better.
Players will normally be able to play the games for free at any of their chosen sites by simply choosing the demo version of their chosen titles. What is more, some of these casinos may offer no-deposit bonuses, free spins and the likes which allow players to explore the game action without spending their bankroll.
The best way to make sure the games are safe is to check for a seal from a testing company. Most of the operators include information about the games, such as their RTP, up front; check for the audit company that is testing their RNGs as well, and you should experience pleasant and fair online gameplay.
Most of these casinos offer a wide range of payment methods in order to fit the needs of the India player pool. Bitcoin is one of the recommended options, although players are still welcome to choose from the e-wallet options just as well (Skrill, Neteller). Either way, most of these are highly reputable payment processing services, and players shouldn’t experience any difficulties when depositing or cashing out of their casino account.
Yes, most of the offshore India-oriented casino sites also offer players a chance to play on their mobile devices. These casinos are normally developed in the HTML5 format, meaning they would fit the screen size of any platform – iPad and iPhone included – when opened through the inherent mobile web browser.
As mentioned earlier, there are some states in India which have used their government’s autonomy and licensed specific casino operators on their territories. Therefore, there are 10 operating casinos in Goa, four of which are water casinos, one in Sikkin and another one in Daman.
Offshore online casinos which service the India-based player pool tend to offer live dealer games in their game library. They achieve this despite the fact that some software providers are restricted in this market. In fact, these online casinos offer Evolution live dealer products, which means players will have a load of good quality live game action to choose from.
The tax policy in India is set at 30% on all winnings from casino games. However, due to the specific situation with all the different legislations in the states, it is best that you check with a local lawyer, as your specific place of residence may not impose any tax on your online casino winnings.
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