Similar to many other nations that have only entered the online casino scene recently, the laws surrounding online casinos and betting sites are quite confusing in India. There are fine lines separating the legal from illegal, and amongst those fine lines, the predatory cybercriminal organizations have crept up. To help the average Indian gambler stay away from scams, hackers, phishing sites and legal prosecution, we have prepared a brief list of pointers that should help to clear out at least most of the confusion.
The Legal Status of Gambling in India
Nationally, India is still following the ancient Public Gambling Act of India, albeit with reformations over the course of 150+ years. Yes, the Public Gambling Act was drafted in 1867, back when India was still under British rule! However, taking into account the recent changes, as well as unchanged and applicable sections of the Act, the following conclusions can be drawn on the status of gambling in India right now:
- Offline gambling which involves betting money on a game of chance is illegal in most states, except Goa and sections of a few other states like Maharashtra
- Gambling which involves betting money on a game of skill is legal
- Seeing the ancient nature of the Public Gambling Act, it has no mention or concept of online gambling, thus it’s not illegal
- Rummy, betting on cricket matches, and horse racing are legal in most of India
The Legal Status of Online Casinos and Betting Sites in India
The Information Technology Act of 2000criminalised and decriminalised a lot of online activities, but it did not mention anything about betting or gambling online. Therefore, after taking into account both the Public Gambling Act and the Information Technology Act, it’s safe to state that online gambling is technically not illegal in India at all.
Exceptions and State Laws
Although online casinos are legal across most sections of India, the state of Telangana does not allow gambling in any form, which even includes online casinos. It’s the only state which has officially banned online casinos, but for the rest of India, playing slot games, betting on sports and playing card games online are mostly legal, but there might be minor restrictions based on the specific state in question.
The Threat of Cybercriminals
Indian gamblers must be wary of both national and international scammers, hackers and phishing websites if they wish to safely gamble online. It is of absolute importance that they choose their casinos carefully on the internet,since there is no effective regulatory body here to check every online casino for fair play practices. What all that means is that you really need to make sure any casino you play at is completely licensed, registered and regulated, before opening an account there.
Due to this unregulated and disorganised nature of the online casino scene in India, stick to Indian versions of internally acclaimed, registered and regulated online establishments. For example, if you visit https://casino.netbet.com/in/, you will see that the online casino is regulated by the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS),as well as being tested for fair play (RNG or random number generation testing) by iTech Labs. You want those kinds of verifiable authority badges on your favourite gambling sites to be sure that they can be trusted.
Do rememberthat phishing sites will look similar to a well-known authentic casino, but their link text will not be the same. Additionally, unlike NetBet or any other genuine casino, these scam sites will not have verifiability on their sides for obvious reasons. It means that while they may also have security badges of all kinds on the scam sites, you will not be able to verify them on visiting the actual certification/regulation websites.
We are midway into a pandemic, and almost everyonein the world is trapped at home on account of the lockdown, so it’s only natural to try out a few popular slots, or one’s skillwith rummy online. Now that you know the dangers and how to avoid them too, stay home, stay safe, and try your luck without the fear of prosecution, online theft or infection!