Legal Status of Online Betting in India: What You Need to Know


India has one of the growing markets for online casinos and sports betting. Every year, millions of Indians would place sports bets. MyBetting India reported last year that over 370 million people place bets on major sporting events like the Indian Premier League.

With this number, are these people participating in legal online betting in India? If you are unsure about the legal situation of betting while in India, keep reading as we have the answers for you!

Is gambling legal in India?

The legality of gambling in India depends on each state. This means that each state has the right to come up with its own local gambling activity laws. So far, only states that have legal gambling are Goa, Sikkim and Daman.

Nationally, gambling activities are regulated by the Public Gambling Act of 1867. Since this act was passed that year, there is no mention of anything related to online gambling. The Information Technology Act 2000 also has nothing on online gambling activities.

This is why even in states where no gambling regulations are in place, locals are free to place their bets online as it is neither legal nor illegal.

Some states have decided to ban online gambling activities in their territory, including Tamil Nadu. In February 2021, the state passed an amendment that made online gambling illegal in the state. However, this did not run its course for long as at the end of 2021 Madras High Court invalidated this Tamil Nadu amendment.

According to the High Court, this was unconstitutional as it violated and breached Section 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. This part of the law states that people have the right to practice any profession or engage in any occupation, trade or business.

The court also found that this sweeping ban, which includes the banning of online poker, online sports betting and online rummy, is excessive and disproportionate to what the state sought to achieve, to knowing how to mitigate the growing gambling problems in the country. State.

The bench also added that since 1968, rummy has always been recognized as a game of skill and not a game of chance. This is why there should be no reason to ban online rummy. In addition, the court also called the business game legitimate.

Last year, not only Tamil Nadu did the same regarding local gambling activities but also the state of Karnataka. Karnataka imposed a law banning betting and betting in online games in September last year. However, like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka eventually had to lift the ban in February this year.

The High Court also said the same and found the decision excessive. The bench said the contested legislative action imposed an absolute embargo on all games of skill. They said that defies the principle of proportionality and that it is definitely excessive. It was also found to violate Article 14 of the country’s Constitution due to manifest arbitrariness.

The court also said that when a law is obscure or admits plural meanings with little choice for an ordinary citizen between the two, the language used is definitely intractable. They can be interpreted as statutes of violence against sensible citizens. This is because then they are not allowed to live safely under the law.

Also, the amending law is generally weak and unlike Section 2(7) which permits all gambling regardless of jurisdiction involved. The provisions of the Principal Act were so vague that men of common understanding will not be able to divine their true meaning and supposed application. This is why it is likely to be invalidated.

Will India ever regulate gambling activities in the country?

With what happened in both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, will these states end up regulating the industry instead? Or better yet, will online gambling and betting be regulated at the national level? Well, it’s hard to say what awaits us right now.

Even though Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had to remove the bans they imposed on online gambling and gambling, both states have spoken out to find ways to tackle gambling-related issues on their territories.

The High Court ruled anyway that both states are free to propose further amendments as long as they do not violate the constitution. That said, we may still see these states or even more push to ban online gambling. Either that or they regulate the industry instead.


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