Is Online Betting Legal in India?

There’s no doubt that India is home to one the largest online sports betting markets in the world, while its relative lack of regulatory maturity has enabled a number of global brands to make their mark on the subcontinent.
It’s easy to see why India would be an attractive market for global betting brands too, as it’s currently home to more than 183 million punters and largely considered to be the spiritual home of international cricket.
Gambling laws and regulations in India are relatively complex, however, so is online sports betting legal in this jurisdiction and what exactly do you need to know as a punter?

Online Betting in India – An Overview

At present, online betting in India is not widely regulated, making it prohibited from a purely legal and legislative perspective.
However, the most relevant law (the Public Gambling Act of 1867) is incredibly old and outdated, while its wording is often contradictory and has managed to create a huge grey area in the marketplace.
This is not unusual in the realm of international iGaming and sports betting markets, which are often governed by ancient and analogue pieces of legislation that are entirely unfit for purpose in the digital age.
To this end, while online betting is deemed illegal at central or federal level, each individual state has the autonomy to interpret the existing laws as they see fit.
Additionally, while the legislation prohibits local and domestic operators based in India from actively targeting nationals with its products and verticals, no provision has been made for individual players.
Overall, this means that Indian nationals are legally permitted to wager online, while international sports betting brands such as Betway and Bet365 are free to target these individuals without issue.

Is the Law Likely to Change in the Future?

Ultimately, the status quo has been maintained in the Indian betting market for some time now, with the existing arrangement only really prohibitive for domestic operators who are based in India.
However, the fact remains that a lucrative illegal betting market currently operates in India, with this running in conjunction to the legal activity that takes place between players and international brands.
This has encouraged the Indian government to reconsider its long-held position on sports betting, with plans having been announced to legalise online wagering and introduce a full regulatory plan going forward.

Author: Martha Chavez