Gambling in India
The laws that cover gambling in India are strange. Most forms of gambling are actually outlawed on a federal level, as the Public Gambling Act of 1867 prohibits running or visiting a public gaming house, punishable by modest fines or prison terms. The states of Goa and Sikkim, however, allow casinos on their territories. In Goa players will find seven land-based casinos, though these establishments have mostly machine games. Table games are characteristic of the five river cruise casinos docked on the Mandovi river. Sikkim’s lone brick-and-mortar casino has table games.
Five Indian states run lottery games, though they are also banned in many others. Legal sports betting is limited to horse racing, which was declared a game of skill by the Supreme Court in 1996.
Online Gambling in India
While the Indian government does not give out licenses to operate sites in India, there are no laws directed specifically against online gambling, either, Because land-based gambling is banned through much of India many assume this extends to the internet, but there are no enforcement policies that would prevent Indian players from gambling online, so it happens regularly.
Sikkim is also leading the way in internet gambling with the Sikkim Super Lotto. Established in 2002, it is still the country’s only locally licensed gambling site. Although the online licensing of a wide range of casino games and sports betting is theoretically possible under the “Sikkim On-line Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008″ and the “Sikkim On-line Gaming (Regulation) Rules, 2009″, no operators have yet been issued full licenses.
India’s players who want to enjoy poker, bingo, sports betting, or casino games online must therefore use foreign gambling websites and are often creative about making deposits, since direct financial transactions between Indians and foreign gambling sites are disallowed. In May 2011 India enacted the Federal Information Technology Act, which includes specific provisions to restricting online gambling, by making it the responsibility of ISPs to block offshore betting sites.