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Betting Laws And Gambling In India Today. Are They Different From Other Countries?

Many countries are not welcoming gambling, and there are even laws against gambling and betting. The US has recently abolished its earlier law on sports betting and has now given the legalizing authority to the respective states. Gambling in India is also still on its way to be legalized, including sports betting.

Gambling In India – Is it Legal?

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Gambling in India is still in the beginning stages of it being accepting by authorities and regulating bodies. The central government has given the states the power to decide if betting and gambling can be allowed in the respective state or not.

As of now, only 3 states have legalized casinos. However, online betting and gambling are still 

not completely legalized in India.

The Betting Market in India Today

Despite laws against online betting and gambling, especially sports betting, India has a large betting crowd. The majority of the Indian betting activities are illegal and are done in the black market. People manage to gamble big sums of money on various fronts, and this practice is not expected to stop anytime soon.

Even if the country allows gambling in India, including betting and other online gambling, expectations are that the illegal gambling market will still continue to function.

So what exactly is legal in India when it comes to betting or gambling?

India classifies the games based on skill and games based on chance. Betting on the basis of skill, like rummy, horse riding or cricket is legal in India. Sports betting and other forms of betting based on luck or chance are not allowed.

Popular Sports For Betting

While betting on a horse race is legal and is governed by laws, there are more takers for betting on cricket or football. This is due to the huge fan base and increased amo followers for both sports. As more people become aware of the games and tournaments, the gamble is becoming bigger.

This does not mean other sports are ignored. If one were to delve deeper into this market, one is bound to find many other options on the best betting sites India has. Certain card games are legal for betting, while some are not. Many cases have been reported where card rooms had to be sealed due to illegal betting activities that involved a “game of chance.”

Sports Betting in India

Sports betting is a very big industry all over the world. Despite many countries having laws against sports betting, it continues to flourish in the black market. People have ways and means to bet on their favorite players and teams. 

The case in India is very similar. Betting on horse races is legal. However, betting on a cricket match is not. While there are clear laws against in-person sports betting, the laws are not so clear against online sports betting.

This has opened a wide range of options for sports fanatics to bet on their favorite players or teams through various betting sites. While a few states have ruled against sports betting completely, many states have not declared anything as of yet.

Online Sports Betting in India

While Indians scourge online to find the best websites to place a bet in, they have access to offshore websites. They can always place a bet on a website in another country and gamble. However, some laws can stop them from transferring funds to an offshore account. There are laws governing international transactions and payments that make such bets difficult and sometimes impossible.

A slight delay in placing your bet during a live match can cost you dearly. With the international laws that govern online transactions, there can be a huge delay or a failed transaction too. This can dampen your betting journey.

Fantasy Betting

Just like all around the world, the betting market for fantasy sports and leagues is big in India. Only Nagaland has legalized fantasy betting, while other states have stayed quiet about it. The lack of laws against fantasy games has allowed Indians to play big in this market.

However, in recent times, there have been issues in this area too. Many argue that though fantasy betting can be classified as a game of skill, it is similar to sports betting. In a fantasy team, the players are chosen based on their current ranking, performance, and matches in the real world. There is no fantasy there. Due to this controversy, few states have paused fantasy betting too.

Gambling in India Vs Other Countries

How is India different from other countries when it comes to online betting and gambling?

Skill Vs Chance

While many countries simply rule betting and gambling as legal or illegal, India splits the verdict. When it comes to sports, there is a provision to bet on games based purely on skill. While betting on horse races is seen as betting on the skill, betting on cricket matches is seen as betting on chance, and hence prohibited.

Payment And Settlement Act, 2007

The Indian government has given full authority to the Reserve Bank of India to process or decline any payments made to offshore accounts. This has led many betting and non-betting companies to either withdraw or discontinue many payment methods and offers due to multiple issues. This has further curtailed Indians from placing bets online through offshore websites and companies.


Gambling Apps are banned in many states in India, thus preventing people from placing bets online and participating in gambling games worldwide. Apps that are a huge success in many countries are non-existent in India, with a large population and an eager market for betting.

Information Technology Act, 2000

This law blocks websites that are a security threat to the country and websites that are not in line with cultural beliefs. Apart from illegal websites, pornographic content, and anti-religious content, this act also blocks websites that encourages money laundering and gambling. Thus blocking betting websites.

Final Words

While there are many laws to keep sports betting in check, especially cricket, there is a big black market for this. There have been numerous scandals involving match-fixing that have led to laundering Crores of Rupees. There have been many suggestions and proposals to legalize betting on cricket matches to avoid such scandals and control money laundering in the black market.

While one can expect laws to change in favor of sports betting in India, there is no clear idea or a timeline for this change.


Copyright © 2011 The Negotiator Magazine
The Negotiator Magazine (May 2011)