With gambling surging in popularity around the world, you might think that now is the perfect opportunity to try it out for yourself. But what does the landscape look like in India specifically heading into 2021? For the most part, the forecast is a positive one, but allow us to break down what you can legally bet on this year so that you can gamble with clarity and peace of mind.
India has phenomenal potential as a gambling nation, if for no other reason than its population. With an estimated 1.36 billion people residing within its borders, it’s no wonder that companies from all over the world are flocking to the country in search of opportunities. The beauty of this, from a bookmaker’s standpoint, is that a large number of Indians love to gamble. Slots, casino games and sporting bets are all popular on the sub-continent, making any changes to the laws surrounding gambling vitally important to millions.
Is Gambling Legal in India?
The answer to this seemingly simple question is fairly complex. To put it simply, regulation is deemed to be at this behest of the individual states, as opposing to a national government. However, to add to the confusion, Indian authorities are not permitted to issue gambling licences, meaning that – officially – there are no legal online betting sites in the country. The way around this for India players is simple: offshore sites that cater specifically to the Asian market.
The Popularity of Offshore Sites
The way around India’s slightly convoluted laws is to utilize the many offshore sites that provide services to an Indian user base. From a legal standpoint, offshores can offer their services to Indian residents as long as they support the Indian Rupee for deposits, withdrawals and betting – thereby putting something back into the country’s economy. This means that a staggering 40% of all India’s internet users’ particulate in some form of online gambling.
India’s History with Gambling
The first major piece of legislation pertaining to gambling in India was passed in 1867. The Public Gambling Act prohibits almost all forms of gambling in the state – though what constitutes as ‘gambling’ is never empirically stated. While this law is still very much in place, it would seem that it doesn’t cover online activities. This is because the authorities seemingly don’t have an issue with millions of Indian citizens betting online using offshore sites. Instead, much of the country’s strictness towards gaming applied to anything land-based – with houses or casinos the most tightly monitored of all.
Which States Can You Gamble in?
As you might expect in a country as vast and diverse as India, the gambling laws of each state varies massively. Sikkim comes in as one of the most liberal states as far as gambling is concerned. It is one of three Indian states which permits the usage of so-called ‘brick and mortar’ casinos. Further to this, Sikkim is the only region in which you can legally place bets on sporting events.
Similarly, the tourist hotspot of Goa has become India’s very own Las Vegas in recent years. The state boasts 10 casinos, which makes it immensely popular with locals who fancy a flutter. The province does still have to comply by strict rules, however, as the casinos can only operate in five-star hotels and offshore vessels – hardly an area of concern for casino owners given the number of visitors that frequent Goa annually. This is one of the most important things to note about Indian casinos. Simply put, Indian residents can still gamble in a variety of ways depending upon where they are in the country.
While the specific rules around gambling in India aren’t exactly codified, the unwritten rules of engagement do allow for Indian users to play – so long as they are smart about it. Offshore sites provide the perfect platform for tech-savvy gamers, while liberal states and cities give you plenty of land-based casino options if that is your preference.
There are plenty of options to choose from, one merely has to do their research before playing. 2021 looks set to be a fantastic year for Indian consumers, with many of the world’s biggest casino sites now beginning to focus their efforts on the Asian market. In time, this will create healthy competition from which Indian players can benefit from. Just remember, deposit, withdraw and play with Rupees rather than Dollars!
More information on how to find Legal casinos in India can be found from one of the leading online casino comparison sites BestCasinoIndia.