India is one of the world’s more promising emerging superpowers. Plus, with a population of over 1.3 billion, it’s an incredibly enticing marketplace for gaming corporations hoping to develop in new regions. At the moment, the legalization of gambling is a hot topic amongst Indian politicians, especially following a report by the Law Commission of India actively supporting the acceptance and regulation of gaming.
In the meantime, the offshore Indian gambling site industry is thriving. With gambling regulations left to the states and only a single federal law in place – signed back in 1867 as a British colony – foreign operators have become immensely popular. However, gambling with offshore providers can be risky business if you aren’t using the most reliable websites.
Our Top Recommended India Gambling Sites
|Las Atlantis review||
280% up to $14,000
||Visit Site Las Atlantis|
|Wild Casino review||
250% up to $5,000
||Visit Site Wild Casino|
125% up to $2,500
||Visit Site BetUS|
50% up to $1,000
||Visit Site BetOnline|
50% bonus up to $250
||Visit Site Bovada|
In this guide, we’ll take a close-up look at India’s history of gambling, their current rules and regulations, and how their industry may evolve and grow in the near future. Despite the government’s best efforts, nothing has worked to restrict Indian citizens from accessing illegal gambling locations, both online and in person. Now, they’re leaning towards embracing the industry and benefitting from the revenues it creates rather than watch that money be sent overseas.
But before we get into that part of our guide, let’s take a minute to discuss the list of recommended Indian gambling sites shared directly above this section. In regions such as India, where licensed and legal gaming websites are non-existent, one must be especially cautious when choosing a provider. In the following section, we’ll explain why those options listed above are the absolute best.
Why Do We Recommend the Above Sites?
Our team of expert reviewers has come together from all corners of the global gambling industry. Whether they’ve run online gaming domains, helped create odds for Vegas sportsbooks, or played poker professionally, this group has decades of experience and prides itself on finding the best India gambling sites for our readers.
While there are hundreds of metrics and factors taken into account when ranking our recommendations, the following are essential attributes of any sites we share here.
Safety and Legitimacy
In countries like India, who don’t yet have licensing and regulatory legislation in place, players must exercise much more caution to ensure their financial and identity safety. With such massive sums of money wagered on offshore gambling sites, rogue operators create websites used to steal money from unsuspecting players.
At first, they appear to look and operate like any other gambling domain, but one day, you go to log in, only to find the entire URL no longer exists. And there’s nothing you can do to recoup the funds.
Cellular data in India is becoming more affordable, and in response, more residents than ever are accessing the internet using their phones and other mobile devices. Similarly, in recent years, we’ve seen international gaming operators improving the experience both through their site’s compatibility with mobile browsers and by building dedicated apps.
We rank these top online Indian gambling sites more favorably, as they’re more likely to give our readers the ideal customer experience. Plus, an easy-to-use mobile option can play a vital role in wagering for fans of sports betting, such as for cricket. There are times when gamblers must get their bets in quickly before the odds are pulled off the board. We want this to be as effortless as possible for our readers.
Bonuses and Loyalty Rewards Programs
You’ve undoubtedly noticed that the Indian gambling sites on our list of recommendations are offering very generous entry-level bonuses and rewards programs to new customers. Whether you’re receiving free-play credits for signing up or a cash-match in response to your initial deposit, there’s quite a bit of free money available to fuel your early wagers.
Then, loyalty rewards programs keep the gifts coming for doing nothing more than participating in your regular gambling hobbies. Depending on how frequently you wager and the amounts you stake on average, the gambling website operators will provide you with cash-back opportunities, gift cards, merchandise, and other valuable prizes.
Payout speeds are an excellent informative metric to analyze when identifying both the scammers and premier Indian gambling websites alike. Unethical websites will use a variety of methods to delay or outright deny customers’ withdrawal requests based on dubious accusations. For example, they’ll cancel a winning bet under suspicions of the user being a professional gambler.
In other cases, we’ve seen unreasonably low cash-out limits used to significantly delay payouts. The strategy is to bore the customer into wagering that money again rather than waiting for their earnings.
Is Gambling Legal in India?
No, gambling is not legal in India. However, gaming regulations are a state responsibility, and there are some regions where lawful gambling can be found. For example, there are land-based casinos in Sikkim, Goa, and Daman.
There are also some legal concessions that are made for gambling during certain religious holidays. During Diwali, for example, the Madras High Court decided that gambling in India is permitted, as long as it’s done amongst friends in a private place.
While most forms of land-based and online gambling sites in India may be prohibited, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening on a massive scale. The Indian gambling market is estimated to generate roughly $60 billion (US) per year, half of which is believed to go to illegal, unregulated providers.
Lotteries are regulated by the aptly named “The Lotteries (Regulation) Act,” which was signed into national law in 1998. The bill gives states the right to outlaw lotteries sold by other Indian regions and spells out the conditions in which a state government may create a lottery of their own.
Here are the requirements, as written in The Lotteries (Regulation) Act:
- “(a) prizes shall not be offered on any pre-announced number or on the basis of a single digit;
- (b) the State Government shall print the lottery tickets bearing the imprint and logo of the State in such manner that the authenticity of the lottery ticket is ensured;
- (c) the State Government shall sell the tickets either itself or through distributors or selling agents;
- (d) the proceeds of the sale of lottery tickets shall be credited into the public account of the State;
- (e) the State Government itself shall conduct the draws of all the lotteries;
- (f) the prize money unclaimed within such time as may be prescribed by the State Government or not otherwise distributed, shall become the property of that Government;
- (g) the place of draw shall be located within the State concerned;
- (h) no lottery shall have more than one draw in a week;
- (i) the draws of all kinds of lotteries shall be conducted between such period of the day as may be prescribed by the State Government;
- (j) the number of bumper draws of a lottery shall not be more than six in a calendar year;
- (k) such other conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.”
It’s also important to note that this law gives the Central Government the right to cancel any state lotteries should they find that any of the aforementioned conditions are not met. Furthermore, private lottos are not lawful; they must be state-owned and operated.
Currently, there are lotteries in the following locations: Maharashtra, Mizoram, Bodoland Territorial Council (technically an autonomous administrative unit, not a state), Goa, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Nagaland, Kerala, Punjab, and West Bengal.
Sports betting is another form of gambling, the legality of which is determined at the state level. As of early 2019, the regions of Sikkim and Nagaland are the only Indian states where you’ll find the activity regulated.
The state of Sikkim has adopted a licensing regime for sports wagers both at brick-and-mortar betting shops and online betting sites in India. The local government defines sports games as “games involving the prediction of results of sporting events and placing a bet on the outcome, in part or in whole, of these sporting events.” Some favorite sports betting markets include cricket, football (soccer), lawn tennis, and golf.
The Nagaland online gambling law has regulated some forms of sports wagering, although exclusively for what they consider “games of skill.” But this does not include what would widely be regarded as classic sports betting. Instead, Nagaland has legalized betting on virtual sports. The state law specifically allows for the following games:
- Virtual golf
- Virtual soccer
- Virtual cricket
- Virtual archery
- Virtual snooker
- Virtual bridge
- Virtual pool
- Virtual fighting
- Virtual boxing
- Virtual fantasy sports leagues
While there are only two states currently regulating forms of sports betting, gambling on the outcome of sports has much more widespread popularity throughout India as a whole. Illegal sportsbooks are prevalent throughout the country and have been the centerpiece of several high-profile scandals, many of which involved cricket – the nation’s favorite sport.
In fact, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Cricket Council has called for the legalization of sports betting in an effort to keep revenue out of the hands of organized crime. It’s these mafia groups that have been guilty of bribes and fixing important cricket matches in the past. The movement is gaining steam in the country, which is desperate for additional funding and searching for solutions to end underground gambling.
In 1996, the “Goa, Daman, and Diu Public Gambling Act” was passed, opening the door for those three states to begin licensing gaming establishments. The bill allowed for casino table games, slot machines, card rooms, and other “games of electronic amusement” to be offered exclusively in five-star hotels as well as onboard licensed offshore vessels.
There are currently ten legal casinos in Goa: six land-based and four on the water.
Sikkim also passed their own casino legislation called the “Sikkim Casino Games Act” in 2004. There are currently only two licensed land-based options in the state: Casino Sikkim and Casino Mahjong. The local government also allows for legal online gambling for “games of chance,” which is extremely rare in India.
Horse racing enjoys a special status in India. An amendment was added to the Public Gambling Act of 1867 that separated this form of gambling from others, saying: “‘Gaming’ includes wagering or betting on any figures or numbers or dates to be subsequently ascertained or disclosed … except wagering or betting upon a horse-race when such wagering or betting upon a horse-race takes place:
(a) on the day on which such race is to be run; and
(b) in any enclosure where such race is to be run, and sanction of the Provincial Government set apart from the purpose, but does not include a lottery.”
A later decision by the Supreme Court further solidified horse racing’s legal status when the pastime was officially labeled as a “game of skill.” There are currently eleven states with legalized horse race betting: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
India’s History with Gambling
Frequently Asked Questions
Is gambling legal in India?
No, the Central Government does not view gambling as legal, although there are exceptions made for horse racing and lotteries. Most gaming regulation is left to the states, so there are some regions which offer legal casinos, sports betting, and online gambling.
What are the risks involved with using a gambling website outside of India’s borders?
It’s possible to be both fined and imprisoned for playing on unlicensed Indian gambling sites. However, illegal online gambling is extremely popular in the country and difficult to catch or prosecute. In some areas, such as Sikkim and Nagaland, you may gamble online legally.
Does India tax winnings from gambling?
Yes. By law, gambling operators must deduct 30% from winnings earned through lotteries, card games, and horse racing for prizes greater than INR10,000.
In Sikkim and Nagaland, online operators are forced to pay taxes to the state governments. Also, players holding money in offshore e-wallets are legally obligated to report their winnings as income.
Who licenses the regulated and legal online gambling sites in India?
The state governments of Sikkim and Nagaland are the only regulatory bodies that license online gambling sites in India.