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Online Gambling goes unabated: Is the government clueless?



As it is apparent from previous posts, gambling laws in India are ambiguous, contradictory and conflicting. Most laws date make to the 1860’s or 70’s. Lawmakers back then could not possibly have envisioned the advent of modern means like T.V, Mobile. and Internet as means of gambling. And since no attempt has been made to reform these archaic laws there is no clarity as to whether online gambling is permitted.

Online gambling through bookmakers based abroad: Since setting up Gambling operations are illegal in most parts of India, currently there are no online gambling websites based out of India. However, bookmakers of International repute like Ladbrokes, Bet 365 and William Hill (based in Gibraltar, U.K. and other tax-havens in Europe) have not placed India in their list of restricted territories. Thus any India citizen can gamble or place bets on such internet gambling websites. A Spokesperson for William Hill, a leading U.K. bookmaker recently admitted to Economic Times that they accepted bets from Indian citizens.

Legal issues involved: Legal experts feel that online gambling in India is somehow illegal (at least in States where gambling is illegal) but there are no specific provisions regarding the same. There are no records of any prosecution for the same.  The Public Gambling Act, 1867 (applicable in many states of India) and the Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887 (applicable to the State of Maharashtra) define common gaming house as any enclosure, house or place and lay down punishment for any person found in that common gaming house. A website therefore cannot be construed as a ‘common-gaming’ house. Thus, in the absence of any specific law he/she is not technically said to have committed an offence.

Also the government can by authority block any website in India (even if it operates from other countries), which is against ‘public order.’ (Section 69-A of the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008) Public order is a loose term and may be applied to block gambling websites which have traditionally considered being anti-social. However as these websites can be freely accessed by all Indian citizens it can be assumed that one is not committing any offence by placing money on wagers on these websites.

RBI regulations: The Reserve Bank of India has the authority to deny permission to any company to operate payment systems (i.e. credit card, debit card and money transfer operations) under the Payments and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. However, since the above-mentioned gambling websites are able to collect funds from Indian citizens through credit cards,   payment gateways (PayPal, Neteller etc.) and other money transfer operations and are also able to send the winnings back through similar channels; it is implied that these operations are legal.

If the government wished to make online gambling illegal it could have easily done so on the lines of the United States Federal Law Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, 2006 (UIGEA).  This Act makes it illegal for a bank or a financial institution to facilitate the transfer of money to an online gambling website. Thus no bank, credit card company or payment gateway operating from U.S.A. or accepting funds from the U.S.A. would be able to permit payments made by individuals to gambling websites.

Sikkim to allow Online Gambling: Sikkim is the state with the most liberal gambling laws in India. Sikkim has not only allowed casinos to be set-up, but also promotes Playwin the largest lottery in India. Recently Sikkim has also allowed sports betting in various forms. And now, reports indicate that under the Sikkim Online Gambling (Regulation) Act, 2008 the government is set to give licences for a period of one year for allowing online gaming sites to be hosted in Sikkim. Reports also suggest that top English bookmakers are interested in setting up online gaming websites in collaboration with Indian partners.

However it is unclear whether Indian citizens outside Sikkim would be able to stake money but considering the fact that foreign online gambling sites are already able to accept stakes from Indian citizens, Indians can expect to enjoy gambling on an Indian website very soon.

Clarifications required: The government has not clarified whether gambling on websites hosted abroad is an offence under the various Gambling Acts. The government must also clarify foreign exchange and taxation issues on online gambling. It is also unclear whether foreign investments from English bookmakers will be accepted for setting up Online Gambling websites in Sikkim, under the present laws.

Some of the online gambling websites accepting stakes from India:

Jay has researched extensively on gaming laws and has been cited by various media houses and journals as an expert. He has helped leading newspapers in their stories on gaming laws. Jay completed his B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from NUJS, Kolkata in 2015 and is currently based out of Mumbai.



  1. Yogesh Dawda

    October 24, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I have read some where that even cricket betting is done on line, the punters check on line information about the favorite teams and put the bet accordingly, I never knew about UIGEA, yep Government should take up this issue – good one keep it up – Yogesh

    • Jay Sayta

      October 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      Nice observation…Online gambling is still carried out even by ordinary people but they can put only small amounts; otherwise it will attract the attention of tax-agencies.

  2. rachat de credit

    November 4, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Find and select some good points from you and it aids me to solve a problem, thanks.

    – Rob

    • Jay Sayta

      November 6, 2010 at 10:29 am

      Glad to know u liked the posts.. 🙂

  3. Abigal

    January 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I found this article very enlightening and up-to-date as it provides information regarding best online Betting sites and software reviews, biggest Internet casino bonuses, and information on free games available. Play exciting online casino games like Slots, Roulette & Blackjack at ABC! Check our exclusive list of bonuses.

    • monica

      January 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      playing poker online is completely legal in india and there is a legislation to that effect.

      • Jay Sayta

        January 17, 2011 at 6:38 pm

        As far as I know, there is no explicit legislation permitting online poker; though there are no laws banning online poker; poker is considered to be gambling. Since it is not clear on online gambling; one can say that laws on online poker are also not clear (since poker is considered to be a form of gambling by many experts).

  4. sanjay

    May 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

    i have not possible to money to bet365 from icici debit card if u have any idea for which bank i allowed to gaming money transwer

    • Jay Sayta

      May 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      Remittances for gaming are not allowed directly and is technically illegal under FEMA rules, but bet365 I think accepts credit cards of Visa and Mastercard and also e-wallets like Moneybookers and Neteller (you can make a cash deposit into Neteller India bank account which can then be transferred to your bet365 account)

  5. vikranth

    July 3, 2012 at 2:29 am

    is indians can deposit the money in, if yes by using which bank debit card is it possible suggest me please………….

    • Jay Sayta

      July 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      At the cost of repetition let me say that under FEMA rules it is illegal to remit money on such foreign betting websites but in practice there are many people who use e-wallets etc. to actively participate in such websites.

      • Harry

        October 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm

        But fema is out of the picture as bet365 accepts money in INR… good luck dogging the income tax people 🙂

  6. amit

    April 18, 2014 at 10:09 am

    THANK U SO MUCH ….. i understand everything after going through all websites > i have read every websites regarding online gambling , online poker and my observation here is >

    One simply cant gamble in india but he can play online and place bet at international websites prove the bank that he is international winnings whether comes from bet365, betfair, pokerstars, or etc and show them the proof of mails becoz

    BANK- needs to update the system for (source of income).

    RBI- just want to clarify for (income tax).

    FEMA- has nothing to say if winning come in (INR).

    So if one choose to play outside of india which is online gambling in europe where playing is legal then there are no specific law in india like in US which stops indian citizen to play/bet online.




  7. amit

    April 19, 2014 at 12:23 am

    i m however still confused and want to clearify the same with u > that what i have mention above is legal ? > if not then take adda52 site which is giving players to play game of skill ? is it legal to cashout from bank of mumbai ?

  8. amit

    April 19, 2014 at 12:24 am

    is it allowed to play game of skill which is the game of money ? legal ?

  9. sandeep

    August 23, 2014 at 9:51 am

    which banks allows to deposit in bet 365 from india

  10. raja

    April 18, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    diposite through the bank is unable to neteller how do I diposite to neteller.which bank provides diposite system.iam a user bet365.please suggest what to do.

  11. Sam

    August 28, 2015 at 9:20 am

    I have some funds in my neteller account which are obviously generated through a source of online gambling site (bet365 -sports betting), 1)If i ever want to withdraw the cash so generated (mostly by cheque – as option) into my bank account, would i be eligible to pay the tax on the specified amount? (although i would wish to hide its source (money from gambling),2)How much amount of withdrawal should be done at a time, without getting monitored. 3)Even though the transactions doesn’t involve the betting site (as these funds are coming through my neteller account), are these transactions clean? and what would be % of tax associated to such transactions?

  12. Sam

    August 28, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Dear Raja,
    1)Create your account on neteller (
    2)Deposit funds (Min- 350 INR)
    3)Link your Neteller account with that of bet365
    4)Once the account has been linked you would be able to transact the betting amount into your created neteller account, which later can be withdrawn by cheque (if requested)
    5) Maximum amount withdrawn from bet365 to your neteller account is upto 30 lacs.


  13. Dawa Sherap

    November 16, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    As far as I know Casino operator in India paying tax. Though I think Rbi should alow online payment getaway for them.

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