Updated: Oct 3, 2020
THE FEDERAL GAMBLING LAW OF INDIA
There was a time when gambling was an unregulated activity. It resulted in people earning a massive fortune. But at the same time, the losses via gambling were too hard to handle and caused catastrophic consequences for some people. This forced the government to take some strict measures which resulted in the Public Gambling Act of 1867.
According to this act, being in charge of a casino or running a public gambling facility is strictly prohibited. An individual violating this law can be imprisoned for up to three months. The fine, in this case, is Rs. 200. Additionally, the law also prohibits individuals from visiting the facility. The fine for violating this is Rs. 100 and imprisonment for a month.
It’s quite obvious that this law is almost 150 years old. Even the fines are not that high by today's standard. Also, this law makes no mention of online gambling whatsoever.
The Public Gambling Act of 1867 was the first ever law that prohibited gambling in India.
However, there is no mention of the online casino or any online gambling activity for that matter. This loophole is a ray of hope to millions of aspiring gambling as it indicates that online casinos are not illegal.
Since online gambling isn't prohibited, it is safe to say that online casinos are legal in India on a federal level. With the prevalence of the internet, the governing bodies could have amended the law, but they didn't. However, the central government left this decision to individual states.
Online gambling is regulated in the states of Goa and Sikkim. In Maharashtra, all kinds of gambling activities are illegal, including online. According to legal experts, there has been no record of any individual being prosecuted for gambling.
The law also states that no gambling operators are allowed to run gambling facilities in any Indian state or territory. However, this law can be disregarded due to the fact that most of the online bookmakers operate from outside India.
So in essence: the only state in India where online gambling is not legal is Maharashtra.
the state of Maharashtra, online gambling is completely prohibited, whereas, in the states of Sikkim and Goa, online gambling is officially legal and regulated.
In most other Indian states, there are no specific laws regarding online gambling, which makes it a legal grey area. For example, in the state of Tamil Nadu, it is neither legal nor illegal to gamble online. Therefore, it is not a prosecute-able offense to gamble online in any state except Maharashtra.