GUEST POST | 10 AUGUST, 2021
Is Online Betting Legal in India?
India is home to more than a billion people and safe to say is a country where cricket and Bollywood are considered to be more than just forms of entertainment. Indians absolutely love playing and watching cricket. Similarly, they also dream of starring in the biggest blockbusters next to their idols such as Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. While there can be no debate regarding the issue of legality in releasing Bollywood films, the same however cannot be said about the gambling industry in India. The big question on everyone’s mind is whether online betting is legal in India?
If you do a quick google search in India, you will find quite a few cricket betting sites offering fantastic bonuses. This is a sharp contrast to just a few years ago when you barely had any betting site offering their services. There are quite a few reasons behind this. The first being that internet penetration has increased in India. Gone are the days of dial up modems, wi-fi can now be found in most offices and households.
Second, the cost of purchasing a smartphone has decreased. It may only seem like yesterday that the first iPhone was unveiled in 2007 and was at a price point that was simply unaffordable for most Indians. While Apple products are still quite expensive, you now have quite a few alternatives. Mainly companies from China offering mobile phones at lower price points but with enough functionality to allow consumers to access the internet.
The last and very important point is around legalisation of online gambling in mature markets such as the UK and Sweden. Once considered to be hot spots of the gambling world, regulation has clamped down on gambling activity forcing quite a few online casinos and bookmakers to shut down their operations. Those that are still active in these markets have seen their profits squeezed out and have thus made the crucial decision of diversifying. India is therefore the next logical choice of gaming operators. The country has the population and the technology that will allow bookmakers to make money. The question remains regarding whether it is legal to place bets in India.
Is betting legal in India?
As per the Public Gambling Act of 1867, all forms of gambling are illegal in India. This means that placing bets on your favourite cricket matches is not allowed. You will regularly read in the newspapers about the shutting down of the latest gang that was involved in cricket betting. However, to complicate things further, the law makes a distinction between games of skill and games of chance. Punters in India are permitted to place bets on games of skill which sadly cricket is not a part of. Then this begs the question as to why lotteries and betting on horse racing is permissible in the country. As you can tell, it is not crystal clear regarding why certain games are legal when it comes to gambling while others are not. So, the next question to ask is whether there are certain areas within India where further exemptions on gambling have been made.
Where is betting legal in India?
The north-eastern state of Sikkim is very open towards the legality of online betting. The state opened its first casino in 2009 and offers quite a few state-owned lotteries. If you make your way towards Goa, you will find the waters full of luxury cruises that operate as floating casinos such as Casino Daddy and Deltin Royale. So once again even within the country itself, if you just make your way towards Goa, you will be able to play your favourite casino games at the said casinos.
Should I Try out Online Betting Sites in India?
The answer is yes. You should always do your due diligence when it comes to selecting the bookmaker and we will provide you with the criteria that you should look out for shortly, but you are okay to create an account with these cricket betting sites. There is clearly a loophole that these companies are exploiting and being offshore based, there is very little that the Indian government can do to shut them down.
What should you look for in an online betting site?
There are quite a few areas that you should look out for selecting a cricket betting site. Continuing with the theme of legality, make sure that the respective bookmaker has the right license. Licenses that are well renowned include UKGC, MGA and Curacao. These can normally be found in the footer section of the site and are important as they keep a check on betting sites making sure they are deploying games that are fair. Licenses also make sure that the bookmaker has taken consideration when it comes to the safety and security of your sensitive data. You will be providing your financial and personal details and the last thing you want is for the rouge bookmaker to steal that info and use it elsewhere.
Second, you need to make sure the bookmaker has the right games that you want to bet on. There is no point signing up with a bookmaker especially in India if they can’t provide you with the latest cricket games. The same point applies to banking options. Just as Finland and Sweden offer bespoke payment methods to their customers, similarly the online bookmakers in India should provide local methods such as Netbanking and UPI. Having too many options and the right ones is never a bad thing! Last but not least, look out for the bookmaker’s customer service by which we mean check out the different ways you can contact them and the response time they provide for each method.
Going back to the initial argument of whether cricket betting is legal in India, the answer is that while there are doubts on the legality of online gambling, this has not deterred legitimate operators from making their way into the region. With time, this is expected to grow even further as more bookmakers make their way into India.