Betting and Gambling in India is illegal. But no law specifically restricts online betting and gambling. Although police have arrested several people from different part of the country in the past on account of online betting, offshore betting companies are using loopholes to hook Indians into betting. Absence of updated law or modern law has led people to confusion regarding legality on betting.
Confusion about Indian betting law:
Electronic betting on sports and games has been advancing in full stretch in India. But there is no precise law on legality and illegality on online betting. Many online betting sites like Dream11, Cricket360.com, etc. claim that there is no betting involved and it’s just a matter of pure skill and knowledge of the participants involved.
It is to be noted that Dream 11, the biggest online sports gaming platform, has entered into a four-year sponsorship deal with BCCI for IPL. They regularly advertise in televisions and Medias inviting people to join online betting. But still no law prohibits them from carrying on online betting.
Section 30 of The Indian Contract Act 1872, states that ‘agreements by way of wager are void’. But the Indian Contract Act has not defined the word wager that moreover leads to confusion.
The Prize Competition Act 1955, also discusses certain types of betting. But it is silent regarding online betting and gambling.
Bet from India through International Bookmakers?
Bookmakers are illegal in India. But there is no definite law that restricts Indians from placing online bets with bookmakers who are outside India. A popular advisory website indiabet.com, claims that they don’t accept bets, whereas they act as an intermediary between international online bookmakers and customers. They also suggest various online betting agencies like bet365, Ladbrokes, Betfair, etc. for the participants for placing online bets.
All these agencies accept betting from customers from India. Unlike the US where they have American Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, there is no specific law in India. But Vikrant Pachnanda, a Delhi high court advocate says as per Public Gambling Act, 1867 ‘all kinds of Gambling in India is Illegal’. It becomes very difficult to catch hold of the offenders who host these gambling sites, as the servers of these websites are located in several countries where betting is legal.
It likewise becomes difficult to accuse an Indian resident involving in online gambling, when gambling laws itself are legal in those particular countries where the website is hosted.
Central Government about online betting:
According to the Consolidated FDI Policy Circular, 2015, the government of India has clearly stated that FDI is illegal in online gaming, online lotteries, betting in casinos, etc. Thereby, we understand that the intention of the Central Government is not to encourage online gambling or render any support to betting agencies. But CG has refused to give an opinion on legality or illegality of online betting and gambling. Further, the supreme court of India has also refused to provide any opinion on the same.
Since there is no clear law in India, the online gambling websites form other countries (where gambling and betting are legal) has to follow the rules and regulations of their own countries. It’s a fact that these Gambling agencies are simply violating the conventional or offline betting rules in India.
State governments about online betting:
Not every state in India is prohibited from doing Gambling. The Indian Constitution gives power to the state government to permit or prohibit gambling in their state. The Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976 allows betting and gambling in Goa, Daman and Diu.
But hotels should obtain permission from their government by paying recurring and non-recurring fees for doing gambling. Similarly, the Sikkim Regulation of Gambling (Amendment) Act, 2005 permits the state to issue a licence to an individual or gambling houses who are interested in performing Gambling.
In summary, no law specifically prohibits online gambling. So if you live in India, you can have access to online betting platforms. The law right now appears to be more worried about deciding the legality of betting. That’s why we say that online gambling is legally illegal, but you can bet online in India.