We Bet You Didnt Know These Indian Online Betting Laws

July 11, 2024
indian online betting law

India’s approach to online betting has changed a lot over the years. This blog will look into the historical trajectory and current regulatory framework governing these activities. With this article, it will be easier for you to understand Indian online betting laws. Furthermore, this will also ensure that you place bets safely on the internet. 

Historical Context of Indian Online Betting Laws

India’s choice of betting decisions reflects a blend of historical context and evolving legal perspectives. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 remains the primary legislation governing betting activities. It criminalizes the operation of gambling houses but does not specifically address online gambling. This is a growing sector in recent years. Over time, various states have enacted their laws and regulations. They are often influenced by cultural norms and economic considerations. Judicial interpretations have also played a crucial role in shaping the legal landscape. This evolving framework continues to balance traditional attitudes towards betting.

Current Regulatory Framework

The legal landscape of Indian online betting laws is varied by state-level regulations. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 does not explicitly cover online platforms. This leads to differing interpretations across states. Some states like Sikkim have legalized certain forms of online betting through state-specific legislation. Then there are others like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu which maintain strict rules. This approach results in a patchwork of regulations. It creates challenges for operators and players alike. The lack of a unified national framework leaves room for legal uncertainties. As technology continues to reshape the betting industry, there must be clarity in betting practices. This will ensure fair and responsible betting practices nationwide.

Legal Ambiguities & Challenges

One of the main challenges for Indian online betting laws is the absence of a cohesive regulatory framework. The lack of clear federal legislation addressing online betting leads to ambiguity and legal disputes. State-level regulations vary widely. Some states permit certain forms of online betting under specific conditions. On the other hand, others enforce strict prohibitions. This approach creates complexities for both operators and users. Moreover, this affects the clarity to ensure fair and regulated online betting practices. As the digital landscape evolves, addressing these legal ambiguities becomes increasingly crucial. These will help to create a transparent environment for online betting in India.

Recent Developments & Proposed Reforms

India has seen significant discussions aimed at enhancing the regulation of online betting. Committees like the Lodha Committee and the Law Commission of India have put forth recommendations to tackle issues. These proposals are geared towards establishing a comprehensive legal framework. It is designed to manage online betting activities. The focus is on balancing the industry’s growth potential and ensuring robust regulatory oversight to prevent malpractices. As digital platforms continue to reshape betting, these reform efforts aim to address existing challenges. In addition, it enhances transparency and promotes responsible betting practices in India.

Indian Online Betting Laws

Betting laws in India are primarily governed by the Public Gambling Act of 1867. It is a colonial-era legislation that prohibits the operation and visiting of betting houses. The Act imposes penalties for those found betting in such places, with fines or imprisonment varying by state jurisdiction. However, the Act does not explicitly cover online betting. This leads to ambiguity and differing interpretations across states.

Each state in India has the authority to formulate its betting laws. This results in a diverse regulatory landscape. Some states, like Goa and Sikkim, have enacted laws allowing certain forms of betting. This includes casinos and lotteries, under specific regulatory frameworks. These states issue licenses to operators, ensuring compliance with local regulations.

However, the legal status of online betting remains contentious. While there is no federal law, states like Maharashtra and Telangana have enacted laws. These outlaw online betting activities. Other states may permit online betting under certain conditions. This may require operators to obtain licenses and comply with regulatory standards. 

What is the Public Gambling Act of 1867?

The Public Gambling Act of 1867 was enacted during British colonial rule. It serves as the foundational law governing betting in India. The primary objective of this Act is to prohibit the operation and visiting of betting houses. Here are the key aspects and provisions of the Public Gambling Act, of 1867:

  • Prohibition of Gambling Houses: The Act prohibits the keeping or managing of any place used for betting purposes. This includes physical locations where betting activities take place. It comprises casinos, betting houses, or any establishment where bets are made or received.
  • Penalties: The Act prescribes penalties for individuals found gaming in a common gaming-house. Offenders may face fines or imprisonment, the severity of which varies by state jurisdiction.
  • Exceptions and State Regulations: While the Act imposes a general prohibition, it allows states to formulate their regulations regarding betting. States like Goa and Sikkim have used this provision to allow certain forms of betting under specific conditions. For instance, Goa permits casinos to operate in five-star hotels and offshore vessels. However, this is subject to stringent regulatory frameworks and licensing requirements.
  • Online Gambling: The Public Gambling Act of 1867 does not explicitly address online betting. This legal gap has led to varying interpretations across states regarding the legality of online gambling activities.
  • Enforcement Challenges: Enforcement of the Act poses challenges due to the evolving nature of betting and technological advancements. This has contributed to a fragmented regulatory landscape across India.

Types of Betting and Their Legality

  • Betting in Casinos: Goa and Sikkim are the only states where casino betting is legal. But this is subject to strict regulations and licensing under state laws.
  • Sports/Horse Race Betting: Betting on horse races is considered a game of skill and is permitted under specific conditions set by state governments. Online betting on horse races is also allowed in certain states like Sikkim.
  • Cricket Betting: While not explicitly legal, cricket betting remains popular in India. The government has considered legalizing it to curb illegal activities like money laundering.
  • Poker: Variations of poker that involve skill are permitted in some states like Sikkim and Nagaland. These have specific regulations for licensing.
  • Bingo: Often classified as a game of chance, bingo is prohibited in most Indian states under betting laws.
  • Lotteries: Regulated by the Central Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998, lotteries are permitted in some states under state-specific regulations, like Sikkim.

Tax Levies for Betting in India

In India, taxes on betting activities are governed by several tax laws. It primarily focuses on income tax, goods and services tax and equalization levy. Let us understand this better.

Income Tax on Gambling Winnings

Under Indian income tax laws, any income from betting winnings over INR 10,000 has a 30% withholding tax. This tax is deducted at the source before the winnings are paid out to the recipient. Recipients of betting winnings need to add this to their annual income tax return. They can claim credits for any excess taxes paid based on their total taxable income and applicable tax rates.

Goods and Services Tax

GST is a consumption-based tax levied on the supply of goods and services in India. The applicability of GST to betting activities depends on their nature and structure. The GST rates change depending on the type of betting service provided. For instance, lotteries attract different GST rates as compared to other betting services.

Equalization Levy

The equalization levy is a tax that addresses the taxation challenges posed by digital transactions provided by non-resident entities. Certain online betting platforms operated by foreign companies may be liable to pay an equalization levy in India. This levy applies to digital services provided by non-resident entities to Indian residents. While it’s not directly targeted at betting, if these platforms meet the criteria, they could be subject to this tax. The equalization levy ensures that such digital transactions contribute to the Indian tax system.

Other Local Taxes and Levies

Some states can impose additional local taxes or levies within their jurisdiction. These could include licensing fees, entertainment taxes, or other local charges. It depends on state regulations.

What Bettors Should Consider?

  • Legal Advice: Seek legal guidance to understand the implications of online betting laws in your state.
  • Platform Legitimacy: Choose platforms that adhere to regulatory standards and operate transparently.
  • Financial Security: Ensure transactions are secure and comply with legal requirements to prevent potential legal repercussions.
  • State Regulations: Know state-specific regulations governing online betting activities.
  • Licensing and Certification: Verify that the platform is licensed by recognized authorities to operate in India.
  • Terms and Conditions: Review and understand the terms of service, including deposit and withdrawal policies.
  • Responsible Betting: Set limits on betting activities and adhere to responsible gambling practices.
  • Tax Implications: Be aware of tax liabilities on winnings and ensure compliance with tax laws.
  • Customer Support: Choose platforms with reliable customer support to address queries and issues promptly.
  • Security Measures: Confirm that the platform employs robust security measures to protect personal and financial information.
  • Reviews and Reputation: Research user reviews and the platform’s reputation for reliability and fairness.
  • Payment Methods: Verify available payment methods and their legality under Indian law.
  • Data Privacy: Know how your data is collected and used by the betting platform.
  • Compliance: Ensure the platform complies with anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations.
  • Updates and Changes: Stay informed about updates in gambling laws and regulatory changes that may affect online betting activities in India.

Also Read: Empower Your Play: Unveiling Your Rights in Online Gaming

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Is betting legal in India?

Betting laws in India are complex. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 governs most betting activities. However, states have the authority to regulate within their borders. Some forms of betting, like horse racing and lotteries, are exempted under specific conditions.

Can I legally bet online in India?

The legality of online betting in India is not explicitly defined under current laws. While there are no Indian online betting laws, regulations and restrictions apply. 

Which states in India allow legal betting?

States like Goa and Sikkim have allowed certain forms of betting under state-specific regulations. Goa permits casinos in five-star hotels and offshore locations. Sikkim allows online betting and other forms of betting under its own laws.

What are the taxes on betting winnings in India?

Income from betting winnings over INR 10,000 is subject to a 30% withholding tax under Indian income tax laws. Additionally, GST and equalization levies could apply depending on the nature of the betting activity.

Is cricket betting legal in India?

Betting on cricket matches is not explicitly legal in India. But it remains a popular activity. The government has considered allowing it under strict regulations. The aim is to reduce illegal activities like money laundering.


Betting in India operates under a complex framework with state-specific regulations. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 forms the foundational law. It mostly prohibits betting activities but allows online betting. States like Goa and Sikkim have embraced certain forms of gambling under their regulatory frameworks. The legal status of online betting remains ambiguous, with regulations like the Information Technology Act of 2000 affecting its practice. We can hope that this blog on Indian Online Betting Laws has cleared your doubts. This information will help you bet safely and earn big!

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