Gambling Law in India
Believe it or not, gambling in India was once a highly-unregulated affair. On the one hand, there were the individuals who amassed huge amounts of wealth – which, let’s face it, were the operators.
On the other hand, some lost their fortunes in equal measure. It had become quite common at the time to witness people who plunged headfirst into poverty, simply because they spent every last dime of their earnings on gambling activities.
It had become so bad that several of these individuals would result in taking their own lives because the devastating losses they suffered became too much to bear. The result?
The Indian government had to intervene to get a handle on things. It is what resulted in the Public Gaming Act of 1867 – a piece of legislation intended to outlaw all forms of public gaming. It effectively meant that anyone found to be running a public casino or any other type of gaming parlor, or engaging in gambling activities of any sort, would be arrested and prosecuted by the state.
Now, in as much as this is an old law that dates back more than 153 years, it remains in force to date. So, if you live in India and have always wondered why you’ve never come across a thriving casino reminiscent of what you would find in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, that’s the reason.
Keep in mind that when this 153-year-old law was effected, no one could have ever imagined at the time that online casinos would become a thing. The internet didn’t even exist back then!
The fact that online gambling isn’t explicitly prohibited by law is the loophole that shines a glimmer of hope to millions of Indian bettors who just want to have a bit of fun betting on their favorite team or playing exciting virtual casino games like slots.
So, is Indian online casino gaming legal? Well, it is not illegal since no law expressly prohibits partaking in this activity – on a federal level. Now, just because federal law is silent on it doesn’t mean that individual states are.
In Sikkim and Goa, for instance, both states heavily regulate online gambling activities. In others like Maharashtra all forms of gambling – including online – are banned. Despite this, a quick legal spot-check reveals that there’s no record of any individual in the state who has ever been prosecuted for taking part in online casino gaming.
The law also outlaws any casino operators – online or otherwise – from running any gambling company on Indian soil. Be that as it may, this doesn’t represent much of a problem since all casino and sports betting operators are based outside the country.
In a nutshell, the only place in India where online casinos are outlawed in Maharashtra. Incidentally, the only form of sports betting that is allowed on a federal level is horse racing after its legalization by the Indian Supreme Court in 1996.
How to Choose the Online Casino
Now that you know online casino gaming is technically not illegal in India, you still need to do your due diligence before settling on a particular casino site to play in. Here are a couple of factors you need to consider when choosing an online casino to avoid incurring a monetary loss.
Before you can even think about spending your hard-earned money on a particular online casino, scroll to the bottom of the homepage to see the jurisdiction in which they are licensed to operate.
Ideally, operators that have a gambling license from the Malta Gaming Authority, UK Gambling Commission, or the government of Curaçao are generally a safe bet. These licenses tell you that they conform to the standards and regulations set out by these bodies, with regards to fairness and payout rates.
Make sure that it is a valid license by running the number through the website database of the respective bodies. If it checks out, then you’re good to go.
Safety and Security
The next thing you need to consider is how safe and secure the site you’re gambling on is. The last thing you need is to enter your details in a sketchy site, only to later realize that this information has been used maliciously to defraud you, empty your bank account, or steal your identity.
So, how can you tell if an online casino is safe and secure? You’ll need to check that it uses proper encryption security software, as well as an SSL certificate to keep the information you provide on the site safe and secure from unauthorized third-party access.
Before making a choice, you also need to check how easy and convenient it is to make deposits and withdrawals to and from your betting account. The easier it is – the better for you.
Ideally, you want to stay away from online gambling websites that have complicated withdrawal policies that stand in the way of you pulling out your winnings when you need to. A site that requires you to wager your balance an unreasonable number of times or set the minimum withdrawable amount at a ridiculously high level, is one you need to steer clear of.
Read the terms and conditions before you settle on a particular casino to check the various payment methods supported such as eWallets or debit and credit card options, how long it takes to access your funds and any other policies that may be considered a deal-breaker.
As far as convenience goes, you should also check the accepted currencies. An online casino that supports deposit and withdrawal payments made in Indian Rupees is a winner in our books.
At the risk of stating the obvious, ensure that any online casino or sportsbook you register with has customer support agents who are available 24/7. A highly-responsive customer service team is a reflection of an excellent online casino.
Check that it has a live chat feature, email, and phone number you can use to get in touch with them if you have any issues you need to be addressed.
Promotions and Welcome Bonuses in Online Casinos
The final thing you need to look out for is the special offers and promotions available. Right off the bat, register with a casino that gives a casino bonus to new customers. That way you can claim the bonus and get a feel for the site without having to spend any real money.
Also, look out for the number of special offers and promotions they have going on. The more rewards they offer to their existing customers, the more chances you have to increase the margin by which you win.
Of course, other factors like payout rates and game selection are equally as important. So, pick and choose what matters the most to you. Parimatch casino in India would be a great place to start.
For players in India wondering about the legality of online casino gambling, the short answer is – it is not illegal to gamble; unless you’re in the state of Maharashtra – then it is.
So, for the most part, a player in any other part of the subcontinent can enjoy their favorite slots, table games, or even poker without worrying about breaking any laws. Who knows, you might just hit the jackpot on your first try!