Its citizens are fanatical about the sport but is betting legal in India? This guide tells you everything you need to know.
Is it Legal to Bet on Cricket in India?
The formal answer is that betting on cricket is generally outlawed here but it is possible for residents of India to bet on the sport. Their options for doing this include the underground network plus a range of offshore betting operators that are accessible to the country’s bettors.
Differences Between a Game of Chance and a Game of Skill
These are terms that we see in other countries where cricket betting is either outlawed or heavily regulated but what do they actually mean? A game of chance relies on pure luck and the most obvious examples of this would include dice games and lotteries.
A game of skill would require the bettor to make an informed judgement on what the likely outcome of an event would be. The curious thing about India is the fact that horse racing is considered a game of skill whereas cricket isn’t.
That’s a difficult issue to understand and one that helps to make the betting landscape in India a confusing one. Here we have one of the best cricketing nations on earth where the Indian Premier League is the biggest competition of its kind. However skilled the competitors may be, this is still considered to be a game of chance.
I certainly wouldn’t be disrespectful to horse racing and suggest that this is a game of chance but I would say that there is more skill involved in cricket so this is a confusing contrast.
The ‘grey areas’ around betting continue in the toleration of offshore betting sites. In regards to offshore ships that contain betting halls, these are not considered to be ‘on land’ so they are largely ignored by the lawmakers.
The same principle applies to online betting sites based overseas. There is no specific law in India which bans online betting and that’s why there is something of a loophole that many citizens are taking advantage of.
Public Gaming Act of 1867
This is an ancient law going back over 150 years but certain parts of this legislation remain relevant in the present day. In particular, the Public Gaming Act of 1867 covers the rules concerning the ownership of or the running of a public gaming house.
Essentially, this act forbids such actions.
What is the Punishment for Cricket Betting in India?
The punishment for breaking the gaming act of 1867 involves a fine of 200 RS or, in certain cases, there is the potential for the transgressor to be imprisoned for up to three months.
Repeat offending and the nature and severity of the case can have a bearing on which punishment is handed out.
Public Gambling Act 1976
This act marks another important milestone in regards to gambling in India. While the Public Gambling Act doesn’t accommodate sports betting in any form, it does allow for casinos to be set up on offshore vessels or at five-star hotels with prior permission.
This is one of the grey areas of Indian law which makes for a slightly confused environment. Like other countries, the public gambling act allows for operations to be set up which can accommodate overseas visitors. Casino tourism is big business but these establishments are also frequented by local players.
Information Technology Act 2000
With the internet starting to take hold at the beginning of a new century, new rules had to be put in place to govern gambling in India. The Information Technology Act of 2000 is an area of Indian law which is there to assist digital service providers.
Under the act, those providers have the power to block betting sites from overseas. It’s a comprehensive piece of legislation which is designed to cover many areas but it can clearly be applied to sports betting.
In theory, with sports betting in India subject to such strict rules, those providers can look to block overseas gambling websites. In practise, however, the process isn’t very efficient and most online betting sites can be accessed from within the country.
The Information Technology Act of 2000 may be designed to halt the progression of online betting in India but it doesn’t really do its job. As mentioned above, there is no specific law banning the practise of gambling online and, because the majority of those offshore sites remain accessible, the Indian betting community can decide between a number of different betting sites.
Where is Sports Online Betting Legal in India?
While the attitude to cricket betting in India is fairly uniform across the country, there are certain differences from state to state. Here is a brief round up of the biggest regions:
The practise here is governed by the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act of 1974 and this outlaws most forms of gambling within the state.
The exceptions to this rule are horse racing, rummy and any state run lotteries. Outside of those three activities, betting in India is illegal but news reports suggest that Andhra Pradesh may be home to some significant underground gambling activity.
The sport of horse racing is very big in Karnataka. It was made legal by the state authorities in the 1970s and there are two big courses in Mysore and Bangalore. Betting on horse racing is tolerated as is rummy where a landmark case in 1995 confirmed that this was a game of skill rather than a game of chance.
Overall, however, Karnataka is not very tolerant to gambling and the government even goes so far as to place heavy restrictions on lottery play.
This is another region where horse racing and state run lotteries are allowed but that’s about it. Legislation within Maharashtra doesn’t even make allowances for the card game rummy.
There is an interest in sports betting here but the Bombay Wager Act makes it illegal to carry out any form of online gambling within the state.
Sikkim stands alone as the first state in India to allow some form of online sports betting. In 2009, the practise of online gambling was legalized here, subject to certain conditions. It is stipulated in local law that any servers must come from within the state of Sikkim and those who are granted a license can open up for staking on a number of sports.
Cricket betting is especially popular here with the Indian Premier League being a big focus. Other popular sports include soccer, rugby and horse racing. The majority of gamblers are tourists, however, and one of India’s few licensed casinos is based in Sikkim.
In terms of population, this is the biggest state in India but there are no laws in place which allow gambling in Uttar Pradesh. We do know that the practise takes place here and that cricket betting is especially popular but most of this takes place illegally.
Uttar Pradesh may be open to change in the future and it has seriously considered opening up a land based casino close to the country’s biggest tourist attraction, the Taj Mahal. That has yet to happen but the size of the population and the keen interest in sports and sports betting may see changes being made in the near future.
888sportBet 10 and get 30 in Free Bets + 10 for Casino (£/$/€)VISITKey Terms:Min deposit £/€/$10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £/€/$10 • For all territories outside of the UK – you must enter the following promotional code when making your first 'real money' deposit: 30FB • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager the bonus amount 40 times within 14 days • Casino Bonus expires after 60 days • Withdrawal restrictions, payment methods, country & Full T&C’s apply. www.begambleaware.org #ad
bet365Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free BetsVISITKey Terms:#Ad. 18+ New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £50* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you five times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Significant Terms and Conditions
• Available to new customers only. Make a qualifying deposit of £5* or more and claim the offer within 30 days of registering your account to qualify for 500% of that amount in Bet Credits, up to a maximum of £50* in Bet Credits. Once released, your Bet Credits will be held in your account balance and are non-withdrawable.
• To release your Bet Credits for use, you must place qualifying bets to the value of your qualifying deposit (capped at £10*) and they must settle within 30 days of claiming the offer. Only qualifying bets placed and settled after claiming the offer will count towards this requirement.
• Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, paysafecard and all other prepaid credit and debit cards, where available, cannot be used for either your qualifying deposit or any subsequent withdrawal of returns from Bet Credits stakes unless we have successfully verified an accepted form of your Identity Documents and you have entered a Postal Verification Code (PVC), or we have successfully verified two accepted forms of your Identity Documents. See full Terms and Conditions for details.
• Bets placed must meet certain conditions to count towards the release of your Bet Credits:
- Must contain at least one selection at odds of 1/5 (1.20) or greater.
- In market/fixture combinations that only have two or three potential outcomes (for example Soccer Full Time Result), where you have placed bets on more than one potential outcome, either pre-match or In-Play, only the outcome with your highest cumulative stake will count.
- Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, only the remaining active stake will count.
- Where a bet has been edited using our Edit Bet feature, only the new stake on the new bet will count.
- Fully Cashed Out, Instant Games, Gaming, void bets or In-Play bets which are settled as a push will not count.
• Your Bet Credits are non-withdrawable, and Bet Credits stakes are not included in any returns. Any returns from Bet Credits placed will be added to your Withdrawable Balance. Bet Credits cannot be used on certain products, offers/promotions and bet types. See full Terms and Conditions for details.
• Your Bet Credits will be forfeit and removed if your account is inactive for 90 consecutive days.
*or currency equivalent
T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. See full Terms. www.begambleaware.org
Unibet£40 Money Back as Bonus on your First Bet + £10 Casino BonusVISITKey Terms:18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first sports bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&Cs. #Ad
bet365Bet Now!VISITKey Terms:Open an account with bet365 today and bet on a huge range of markets with the world's favourite online sports betting company.
UnibetRegister Now to view current promotions!VISIT
BonsBons - Bet On Sports!VISITKey Terms:Cashback up to 20% every month, ₹1000 free bet on sport, Rebate 500% in sports bets, COMBOBOOST up to 100% in combo bet
BetShahWELCOME BONUS UP TO ₹9,000VISITKey Terms:New players only, 18+, Players who have chosen this promotion will no longer be eligible to participate in the casino welcome promotion. The bonuses available through this promotion require Manual Activation from the Bonuses section of the customer account before making a qualifying deposit, and once claimed, they will be valid for 15 days. Min deposit: ₹300 or the equivalent in other available currencies. Deposits made with AstroPay One Touch are excluded from this promotion. Players need to wager just the bonus amount 18 times at odds of 1.80 and above in order to release it along with any corresponding winnings. Bonus Terms and Conditions apply, General Terms and Conditions apply
ComeOn100% Matched Deposit Bonus up to ₹2500VISITKey Terms:India 18+ customers only. You will have a total of 30 days to complete the bonus from the activation date. The date when you activated your bonus can be found on the “My Active Bonuses” page. Minimum deposit is ₹1000. Maximum bonus amount is ₹2500. Minimum wagering requirements apply. You will need to wager your bonus before you can withdraw as follows: Sportsbook: 10 x deposit and bonus. Each way bets or bets placed on Asian Handicap are excluded. The ₹2500 Sports Welcome Bonus will be credited to your account within 24 hours after your first qualifying bet has been accepted. Terms and Conditions Apply
PlayUp AustraliaLogin to View PromotionsVISITKey Terms:Join PlayUp today and you can bet on all the best Racing and Sports. Whether you’re just after the simple stuff like Win/Place and Head-to-Heads or something a bit more complex such as Exotics and Player Props, we’ve got top odds on all the markets you could ever need! So sign up to Australia’s best fixed odds bookmaker now and make your best bet!
Is Cricket Betting Legal in Goa?
I’ve given this a separate section because, as a major tourist destination, Goa is something of an anomaly within Indian law relating to gambling. The first casino in India opened here in 1999 and live gambling in person is now legal for anyone over the age of 18.
At the time of writing, there are now seven land based casinos in the region. In addition, casino games can also be found in five star hotels while a significant number of offshore boats offer card and table games.
Officially, Goa has yet to legalize gambling on sports but some of those casinos offer sports betting facilities as well, and cricket betting is especially popular within those establishments.
There is no real clear conclusion that we can draw here: While there are a number of public gambling acts still in operation, there is no definite answer to the question, is betting legal in India?
What we can say is that the practise isn’t fully legalised across the country. It’s also certain that, with the current exception of Sikkim, an online betting site cannot be established within India as there is no provision for licensing and regulation.
Cricket and other Indian sports remain popular and there is a loophole that can allow residents to take part in online betting in India. While the Information Technology Act of 2000 fails to block overseas gambling or cricket betting sites, players here can sign up with foreign providers that accept Indian players. There are many who allow registrations from India and it’s even possible to play with Indian Rupees in places.
Perhaps it’s time for the government to lessen those restrictions and allow for a more open and less confusing landscape with regards to gambling and betting in India.