Laws and Regulations Governing Online Gambling in India

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Gambling refers to the act of participating in games, activities, or events where individuals wager money or something valuable on an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money or prizes. It is the practice or activity of betting that involves risking money or valuables in order to win more in return. The outcome of gambling is typically determined by chance, although there are certain games that may involve skills or strategies to win. Gambling can take various forms and is commonly associated with activities such as casino games (slot machinesroulette, and poker), sports betting, lottery games, online gambling, and card games (blackjack, and baccarat). The most astonishing thing about gambling is that it can be conducted physically and via online platforms. Traditional gambling takes place at casinos, sporting events, etc. In contrast, online gambling takes place on a digital platform where credit cards are used for placing bets, and both winnings and losses are settled electronically. With the advancement in technology, the online gambling industry has been revolutionized as it provides greater accessibility, convenience, and innovative experiences. In order to control gambling, the Public Gaming Act of 1867, was passed which is an important legislation in India for regulating gambling. In this article, a brief discussion is provided regarding the term gambling, online gambling, the legality of gambling in India, and punishment for online gambling in India.

Legality of Gambling in India

In India, there is no unified law that regulates different activities of gambling whereas its legal status is complex and varies depending on the specific type of gambling and the laws of different states. It is largely a state subject and comes under the State list of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution. This means that only the state has the right to regulate laws (State-specific) related to gambling activities in their territory. In general, gambling in India is regulated by the Public Gambling Act, 1867, which is a central law that prohibits certain forms of gambling. However, the law does not explicitly mention online gambling since it was enacted long before the advent of the internet. As a result, the legal framework surrounding online gambling is not well-defined. Also, the Act differentiates between games of chance and games of skill as well as declares all types of gambling unlawful in India. 

Some states in India have enacted their own gambling laws, which may prohibit or regulate online gambling activities within their jurisdiction. For example, states like MaharashtraTelangana, and Andhra Pradesh have specific laws that make most forms of online gambling illegal. Also, some of the states such as Madhya PradeshUttar Pradesh, and Delhi have adopted the Public Gambling Act with certain amendments. On the other hand, other states like Goa and Sikkim (under Sikkim Regulation of Gambling (Amendment) 2005) have legalized and regulated certain forms of online gambling within their boundaries. Goa allowed gambling under Goa, Daman Diu Public Gambling Act 1976 which was amended later on to allow slot machines at 5 Star Hotels. These states have issued licenses to operators who comply with their respective regulatory frameworks. They offer online casinos, sports betting, and other forms of gambling that are permissible under their laws.

Online gambling in India

Online gambling in India refers to the act of participating in gambling activities through various online platforms or websites. Simply, it refers to the use of the internet for placing bets and earning money via a virtual environment. People use digital currencies instead of cash for online gambling. There are various websites or applications that allow people to gamble online whereas Teen Patti and Rummy Draw are the card games that are popular among Indians. While addressing online gambling, another term online gaming is noticed. It has been observed that if any online activity requires skill then it will be considered gaming whereas any activity that relies on chance is considered gambling. In the Public Gambling Act, 1867, no provisions were provided regarding online-based gambling whereas there is another Act, Information Technology Act, 2000, that identifies web-based wagering and gaming but it does not mention online gambling. As mentioned above, gambling is a State subject; therefore, states make their own laws for the same. In this context, it's important to note that even in states where online gambling is permitted, certain restrictions and regulations may apply. For instance, there may be age restrictions, requirements for obtaining licenses, and limitations on the types of games or bets that can be offered.

Regulations for Offshore gambling sites

The offshore online gambling platforms, which are operated from outside India but accessible to Indian players, remain a topic of debate. Some argue that the legality of offshore gambling platforms is not subject to Indian laws and are, therefore, permissible to use, while others contend that they may still be in violation of Indian laws. Regulations for offshore gambling sites vary depending on the country or jurisdiction in which they operate and the regulations enforced by that particular jurisdiction. 

Punishment for online gambling in India

There are various risks of online gambling such as financial and social problems, loss of personal information, money laundering, high vulnerability to cyber-attacks, and increased social detachment. These risks result in the theft of personal and financial information of the players or users which further causes the loss of one’s hard-earned money. According to the Public Gaming Act, “Whoever is found (gambler) in any such house (gaming-house), walled enclosure, room or place, playing or gaming with cards, dice, counters, money or other instruments of gaming, or is found there present for the purpose of gaming, whether playing for any money, wager, stake or otherwise, shall be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred rupees, or to imprisonment of either description, as defined in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), for any term not exceeding one month, and any person found in any common gaming-house during any gaming or playing therein shall be presumed, until the contrary be proved, to have been there for the purpose of gaming.” Also, if any individual (gambler) is found to be the owner or occupier of the house or manages the business of the gaming house is liable to a fine exceeding Rupees 200 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months. 


While gambling can be a form of entertainment and recreation for some, it is important to note that it can also be addictive and potentially lead to financial and personal problems. However, it is important to recognize the potential risks associated with online gambling and ensure that appropriate measures are in place to promote responsible gambling and protect vulnerable individuals. Unsafe Gambling platforms might land you in the soup with cyber criminals, you can be deprived of your hard-earned money, your financial data might be misused or gambling can become your weakness which can become a cancerous habit that can destroy one’s life, earnings, and savings. 


1. Which Act was passed to control gambling in India?
2. Which states have legalized gambling in India?