Gambling is quite popular in most parts of India, and you might have read in the news about arrests related to gambling activities. Is gambling a crime in India? or is there a legal way to do it?
Find out right here.
Is gambling a crime in India?
Yes, gambling is a crime in most parts of India, with a few exceptions. Under the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which was passed during British rule in India, all types of gambling and betting activities were deemed to be illegal. Running a gambling house, or visiting one is punishable by a fine of ₹200 or up to six months of imprisonment. This law is still in force in most parts of India.
After independence, the constitution empowered states to form their own laws regarding gambling. Goa became the first state to use this autonomy, and passed the Goa, Daman, and Diu Gambling Act in 1976, paving way for legalized gambling. Under this law, casinos were allowed to operate on offshore vessels, and inside five-star hotels. Sikkim became the second state to legalize gambling, bypassing the Sikkim Regulation of Gambling (Amendment) Act in 2005. Currently, three territories in India, namely Goa, Sikkim, and Daman have legal casinos.
Is gambling a crime in India? As the current gambling law is more than 150 years old, it finds no mention of online gambling, and no amendments have been made so far to include it too. This leaves a glaring loophole for interpretation. Taking advantage of this, many foreign gambling websites like LeoVegas, Royal Panda, and Casumo accept Indian players. Being based in foreign countries like Malta and Curacao, the Indian law does not apply to them. So, technically, a person residing anywhere in the country can legally gamble on such sites as of now, filling in the void of brick and mortar casinos.