Gambling has always been a part of Indian culture and society. It existed in India for longer than it is believed now. You can see traces of gambling in many historical books like Mahabharata and Ramayana.
Gambling practices in India have been changed according to time and technology. In the era of online gambling, legislation and laws vary from state to state. Betting and gambling are a State subject in India.
Though online casinos in India are in their infancy, some Indian states have legalized them. Moreover, the gaming/casino industry has legal as well as illegal components that vary according to states. For instance, casinos in some states like Goa and Sikkim are regulated, and some games of skill are legal in Nagaland. It is estimated that the worth of the online gaming industry in India is around $150 billion (Source).
The Legal Side
There is only a single law related to gambling and casino practices in India. The gambling laws in the nation are referred to as the Public Gambling Act, 1867. Moreover, the laws are applicable to only land-based casinos and not online casinos. However, there are some expectations in the law. For instance, in Goa, Dui, and Sikkim, offline casinos are legal.
Online casinos or gambling is legal in all the states of the country. In this case, Andhra Pradesh is an exception. Online casinos/betting and gaming platforms are illegal in Andhra Pradesh (Source). It means that it is legal to play in online casinos in the other states of the nation.
The Indian gaming act needs some serious amendments as there is a lack of clarity regarding the online gaming/casinos. Although after the gaming act 1867 in the government, it came up with two more other acts, many were still unable to figure out which games are considered illegal. Some states have worked in the direction of legalized gambling.
The State Powers
The Indian constitution states that gambling and casino practices are the state’s responsibility; one state can impose restrictions and regulate accordingly. However, the central governments have the interfering power in the rules and regulations of lotteries and social games, which are not related to money.
The state can give permission to some of the games and casinos and issue licenses to practice in the state territory. The state can also impose taxes and other rules and regulations on betting and gambling. In India, each state has its own rules and regulations related to casinos and online gambling.
The Legalized Betting
There are very few states where online gambling and casinos are legal. The lottery system is legal in 13 states of India.
But, brick and mortar casinos are only legal in Goa, Sikkim, and the Daman’s union territory. Goa was the very first state that legalized gambling and casinos.
Moreover, currently, Goa has the highest number of casinos and gambling facilities in India. Although some rules and regulations like casinos have to pay 10% of their income as the tax and the legal age for gambling are 21 years.
Gambling has always been a part of Indian culture, and as of now, many Indian states are trying to make online casinos and gambling platforms legal. These platforms pay lots of taxes and royalty to the government, so the Indian states can use them as tax sources.
Gambling is a subject of state in India, which means each state decides its legislature. Offline casinos in India are legal in Goa, Dui, and Sikkim. On the other hand, online casinos are legal in all the states except Andhra Pradesh.