Gambling and betting activities are popular pastimes for many Indians, both online and offline. However, the legal status of online gambling in India is a gray area that raises many questions. In this article, we’ll discuss the current state of online gambling in India, its legality, and what the future holds.
Current State of Online Gambling in India India’s gambling laws are based on the Public Gaming Act of 1867. However, since this law was passed before the advent of the internet, it has no mention of online gambling. As a result, online casino and betting activities are neither legal nor illegal.
Only the states of Sikkim, Nagaland, and Meghalaya have gaming laws and licensing regimes. Sikkim and Meghalaya have licensing authority for online casino gaming and sports betting, while Nagaland has a licensing authority for online games categorized under mere skill. In 2020, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh imposed a ban on any online gambling and real money gaming activities.
In 2021, the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu attempted to impose a blanket ban on online gaming activities. However, the High Courts struck down these amendments, deeming them unconstitutional. Kerala also faced a similar situation. Nonetheless, these states are still free to come up with legislation regarding online gambling, provided it does not violate the Constitution.
What Lies Ahead: To Ban or Not to Ban? The recent happenings surrounding online gaming legislation in the states mentioned earlier show that India is still having a hard time deciding what is and isn’t gambling. The question of whether more states will follow Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in attempting to prohibit online gaming remains unanswered.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) recently announced a legislation draft surrounding online gambling throughout India that’s ready to be reviewed. The drafted regulations are geared towards resolving the growing complaints of problematic gambling behaviors among minors.
Some of the measures included in the draft are mandatory customer enforcement complaint procedures, the appointment of a chief compliance officer, and strict player verification. The regulator will also be responsible for checking the content of the games, with any content that violates the sovereignty and integrity of India not being allowed. Online gaming operators will also have to be registered with the IT ministry.