India has one of the biggest potential markets for online gambling. But outdated regulation has held back establishment of online casinos. The Public Gaming Act of 1867 has been the biggest hindrance to the gaming industry in India. This federal law outlaws running of gambling operations and taking part in games of chance. The law is applied in an unclear manner. You can see a list of casinos operating in India listed at Allcasinos casino news site. They operate fairly openly, but they are also under threats like payment restrictions because of the gaming laws.
What is the Legal Status of Casinos in India?
The Public Gaming Act 1867 is a federal law, meaning it applies to all parts in India. But India is a federal state, which gives states some measure of freedom to implement their own laws. The Public Gaming Act has a pretty vague distinction of games of chance and games of skill.
In one case, the Indian Supreme Court ruled rummy was a game of skill because it required memorization of the cards sequence and strategy in holding and discarding cards. But the three-card game, popular in Madras, was a game of pure chance because the outcome depends on the way the cards fall.
The only other betting allowed is on horse racing. Even cricket betting is illegal, notwithstanding that cricket is India’s favorite pastime. However, three states have allowed limited casino operations: Goa, Sikkim and Daman. But the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana recently moved to restrict gambling laws.
Several online casinos operate in India using the loophole that they offer games of skill like blackjack. Indian gambling fans can sign up freely in these online casinos. The casinos have some form of licensing. There are also the hundreds of offshore casinos accessible on the internet. These online casinos have a big following in India, and you will find many fans playing on them in cyber cafes and on their mobiles.
Payment Methods Restrictions
Most casinos operating in India accept Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards. Indians can also choose to use digital wallets like Skrill, Neteller, Paysafe, and PayPal. There are more choices for those playing in offshore casinos, including Bitcoin. Paytm is perhaps the most popular digital payment platform in India. Many casinos accept it for deposits and withdrawals.
Many Indian gamblers were dismayed to find Paytm pulled down from Google’s Play Store in 2020. The reason Google gave was that Paytm had become involved in gambling activities, which violated Google’s app platform laws. Paytm was also operating a fantasy sports app called Paytm First Games.
PayPal also regularly blocks accounts used in gambling. PayPal’s policy restricts using the platform for gambling because of the risks associated with money laundering. Indian gamblers have to risk their money when using PayPal.
Telangana voted to prohibit gambling operations in 2017, followed by Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in 2020. These bans meant that casinos operating in India could no longer receive members and payments from these states. Consequently, payment methods have been blocked from transactions originating in these states.
Casinos in India operate in uncertainty because the Public Gaming Act has not been repealed, and states legislate unpredictable laws. Casinos routinely have their operations disrupted because there is no law to protect them.
There is hope for legalization of online casinos and sportsbooks in India after the Minister for finance called for repealing of the outdated laws. There are several advantages that would come with legalization, including more tax generation from gambling revenues. Until then, Indians will continue limited choices in casinos and games.