Is online gambling legal in India?
The popularity of online gambling
Online gambling has become hugely popular across the world, although the industry still faces numerous regulatory issues in some countries.
Many people in India enjoy playing at online casinos every day, but the situation regarding the legality of such practices is far from clear.
The question – is online gambling legal in India? is one which continues to cause debates, but is one which appears to be edging closer to being resolved.
Read on as we look at the latest state of play.
The legal landscape
The Indian government has traditionally restricted most forms of gambling except for categories such as horse racing and lotteries.
It has long been argued in India that gambling causes a rise in criminal activity, but supporters suggest that better regulation would be beneficial as it would help to generate large tax incomes for the country.
The Public Gambling Act of 1867 prohibits running or being in charge of a public gambling house, but clearly makes no mention of the internet and online gambling.
The Information Technology Act 2000 doesn’t mention gambling or betting, thus leaving the interpretation of its legal scope up to the courts.
While Indian operators are banned from running online sites with games like blackjack, video poker and baccarat, the same rules do not apply to offshore companies.
The only legal requirement placed on casinos such as JackpotCity or Spin Casino is they must offer rupees as a payment method for Indian players.
Prominent politician, Shashi Tharoor, has been pushing for a change in the legislation, submitting a private bill to parliament that proposed the regulation of online gambling in India.
With some experts claiming that the gambling industry in India is worth in excess of $150 billion per year, it is easy to see why the government may be persuaded to revise its stance over the coming months.