Is Online Gambling Legal in India?

Is Online Gambling Legal in India?

The Indian Constitution talks about gambling. It says that online gambling in India includes any activity or event where the result is based on luck or chance. It also includes anything you do or try with the knowledge that you might either win or lose.

Online gambling means placing bets and getting rewards through the internet. It happens in a digital world. This includes activities like poker, cricket betting, and sports betting. “Is online gambling legal in India?” has become a debated subject lately. It’s concerning to see how rapidly gambling problems have spread in today’s high-speed internet era.

Today, people can secretly use different online gaming websites to play & win live casino games in India. Which was not possible before. In India, 40% of internet users gamble, and notable studies suggest that India might have more gamblers per person than Britain soon.

Online Gambling Legislation: Basic Understanding

The Public Gambling Act of 1867 sets up and clarifies the rules for punishments related to “public gambling.” According to Section 12 of the Act, activities that involve only skill are not punished. This means the key difference between gambling and gaming is that gaming is legal and skill-based. While gambling on the best casino app in India relies entirely on luck.

However, it’s clear from the act’s age, and the year it was created that it might not be very prepared to handle virtual gaming & online gambling in India. Plus, figuring out whether a game falls under luck or skill can be challenging.

There’s a gap that leads to different understandings. Therefore, deciding whether a particular game is considered a skill or not is the responsibility of the Indian Judiciary. With this fundamental idea, let’s move on to the next section, which explains the analysis of online gambling.

Online Gambling: State-Specific Regulations

The governments of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh have adopted the Public Gambling Act with some changes. Certain regions, like Goa, Sikkim, and some northeastern states, have made their own rules to manage public gambling. Yet, not all of these places have laws for online gambling since it’s a new and growing industry.

Below is the list of Indian states that have passed specific laws to control online gambling.


The Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act regulates online casinos with games like blackjack in Sikkim. Those running these games can only let their users play and win live casino games in India through private network connections and must obtain a license. Sikkim also allows sports betting through internet terminals.


According to the Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act, the government of Meghalaya allows both physical and online casinos. After obtaining a license, Meghalaya also allows sports betting, like horse betting.


In Nagaland, poker is regulated as a “game of skill” according to the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion of Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act.

Tamil Nadu

Similar laws were enacted in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala to ban all forms of online gaming, even those involving skill. However, the court overturned the laws in Kerala and Tamil Nadu that prohibited skill-based online games. Tamil Nadu has experienced a significant recent change in this matter. A few months ago, Tamil Nadu issued an order to ban all online gaming. About a month later, the state legislature passed a bill to reaffirm this order. As of now, the bill requires the governor’s approval to become law. Furthermore, the order has not yet been enforced.

Online Gambling: Rules & Standards

It’s evident that the laws regarding “Is online gambling legal in India?” are different in different states, and there isn’t a uniform standard. As mentioned before, there’s a lack of uniformity & clarity in the regulations that control online gambling throughout the country.

Only one court case, M/s Gaussian Networks Pvt. Ltd. vs. Monica Lakhanpal. And the State of NCT dealt with online gambling and gave the following judgment:

  • Playing a game that involves skill and betting is not considered gambling
  • It becomes illegal if people are attracted to a game only for the possibility of winning money
  • Even if it’s allowed in the physical world, playing a skill-based game for profit would be against the law on online platforms
  • Gaming websites can’t combine winning hands because that would encourage gamers to play and win Casino games for real money in India. 

The case was eventually dismissed during the final discussion of the appeal. So now it doesn’t create a standard or can’t be used as an example anymore.

Other laws that limit the promotion of gambling include the FEMA 1999, the Prize Competition Act 1955, the PMLA 2022, the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference Regulations 2010, and the Cable Television Network Rules 1994.

Final Words

The government has been working on creating laws to regulate gambling. This is because, if it’s controlled and appropriately taxed, it can stop people from losing money and bring in money for the country. In 2018, the Indian Law Commission (LCI) advised the government to make gaming legal. They released a detailed report suggesting that legalizing gambling could help the country get the necessary tax money.

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