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Joe Yarnold

Is online betting legal in India? Well, the answer is both yes and no. It’s a convoluted matter and the legality of betting depends on what state or territory you are in. This is further complicated by most legislation not explicitly mentioning online gambling and ambiguity in what constitutes gambling.

In this article, we will take a detailed look at past and current betting laws in India, legal betting sites in India, where you can gamble in the country, and more.

Current Gambling Legislation in India 2024

Flag of India.svg Gambling is technically illegal in India under the Public Gaming Act of 1867 (PGA). However, since India gained independence, gambling legislation has been passed by local governments. This means that gambling laws will differ from state to state.

Several states have adopted the PGA and made amendments to it while others have drawn up and passed their own gambling legislation.

One important thing to note about the PGA is that it states that games of “mere skill” are exempt from the Act. This means that games of skill are legal in India but games of chance are illegal. However, what constitutes a game of skill is a contentious issue and it has been left up to the courts to determine on a case-by-case basis.

In 1996, the Indian Supreme Court ruled in the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v K. Satyanarayana & Ors. and the State of Bombay v R.M.D. Chamarbaugwala that although the game of Rummy has elements of luck, it is a game of mere skill. This means that it’s not prohibited under the PGA.

Horse racing was also ruled to be a game of skill by the Supreme Court in the case of K.R. Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu,1996, and is specifically excluded from prohibition in many state gambling laws.

As it stands, sports betting is considered a game of chance by the Indian Government and is prohibited across most of India. On the other hand, most state legislation and the central government legislation on gambling do not mention online betting apps and sportsbooks specifically. Because of this, it’s in somewhat of a legal limbo which is why it’s not possible to definitively answer “Is online gambling legal in India?” with a clear yes or no.

There are a few states that have legal betting in India on games of chance, including sports betting, while some other states have definitively banned online sports betting specifically. However, at the federal level, there’s no explicit ban on online betting but also no legislation legalizing it.

Timeline of Betting Regulations in India

As previously mentioned, the answer to “Is online gambling legal in India?” depends on where you are as laws are mainly dealt with at the state level. However, the Central Government has passed multiple Acts relating to betting which we take a look at below.

  • 1867: The Public Gambling Act of 1867 is passed. This Act criminalizes the act of running or managing a public gambling house. It also prohibits anyone from visiting a gambling house and lays out the penalties for performing any of these Acts.
  • 1947: India gained independence from the British Empire and in January 1950 the Constitution of India came into force which grants state governments control over their local gambling and betting laws.
  • 1955: The Prize Competitions Act is passed. It prohibits anyone from winning a prize worth over ₹1,000 for winning a competition that involves solving a puzzle, guessing a number, and other types of competition.
  • 1998: The Lotteries (Regulation) Act is passed. This act established how the government runs and handles Indian lotteries and permits states to run their own lotteries.
  • 2000: The Information Technology Act is passed. This Act regulates and deals with cybercrime and e-commerce. It does not specifically mention gambling but certain elements are broad enough that it could be argued in court it applies to online gambling.
  • 2021: The Information Technology Rules are set out by the Ministry of Electronics and Technology to regulate online content including online gaming.

States That Have Regulated Gambling Activities

There are not many states that have drawn up their state gambling laws most have adopted the PGA of 1887, and made amendments. We run through the states and territories that have passed acts specifically legalizing and regulating gambling below:


This small state in the northeast region of India has some of the most gambling-friendly betting laws in India. Both games of skill and chance are legal in the state under the 2008 Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act.

This Act was also the first in India to explicitly regulate online gambling and set up legal betting sites. The Act was the first to allow legal online betting sites in India for sports and casinos. However, in 2015 the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Amendment Act was passed which restricted online gaming to the physical premises of licensed gambling establishments via intranet terminals.


Gambling has been legal in Goa since 1976 when the Goa, Daman, and Diu Public Gambling Act (GDDA) came into force. This Act permits casino gaming and gambling on games of chance, at land-based casinos and offshore vessels. However, sports betting is not mentioned in the GDDA.

After Goa split from the union territory and gained statehood a few amendments were made to their gambling legislation. Most notably the Goa Public Gaming (Amendment) Act 2012, which banned locals from visiting any of the onshore or offshore casinos in the state.

The GDDA does not mention anything about online betting and while there are no domestic online gambling sites there are no laws explicitly prohibiting the use of online betting sites.

Daman and Diu

Gambling in Daman and Diu is also regulated under the GDDA,1976, which means casinos including electronic amusements are legal on land and at offshore vessels if they hold a license. Again sports betting and online betting are not specifically mentioned in the GDDA.


The Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling, Promotion & Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2015 prohibits gambling. However, they clearly define the term gambling as wagering money on “games of chance”. Placing money on games of skill does not constitute gambling and is therefore not prohibited.

Unlike the Central Government’s PGA of 1987, this Act clearly states what games constitute games of skill and are allowed in the state. Poker, Rummy, virtual sports, quizzes, and more are listed as games of skill in the Act.

This means online poker and fantasy sports can be offered as long as they obtain a license from the state government. The first online poker license in Nagaland, also the first in the country, was issued in 2016.


Megahayla was one of the first states to have legal betting in India when they legalized wagering on archery under the Prevention of Gambling Act, 1970 but most other forms of gambling were still prohibited.

The Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming Act was passed in 2021. This bill legalized gambling both in person and online for non-residents.

However, this bill was met with staunch opposition from religious and social organizations, and in 2023 The Meghalaya Regulation of Gaming (Repeal) Act was passed which repealed the 2021 Act.

India’s Self-Regulatory Bodies for Online Gambling

In 2023, the Ministry of Electronics and IT published amendments to its Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules to address online gaming and to gain more control over the sector to protect consumers.

The amendments included the creation of government-approved Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) and any company wanting to offer real money online games must be registered with them. One of the main functions of SROs will be determining if real money online games are games of skill and not games of chance.

These rules also state that no wagering on the outcomes of games is allowed. This means that it is not going to be regulating sports betting. However, fantasy sports will likely be regulated via SROs so will be widely available.

What You Need to Know About Gambling Tax in India

As a bettor, any net winnings you make from gambling are taxable under the Income Tax Act of 1961. The tax rate is a flat 30% on your winnings regardless of your tax bracket. This applies to both online and in-person winnings.

The government announced the Central Goods and Services Tax (Amendment) Act which would levy a 28% tax rate for online and in-person gambling companies. Although this is slightly lower than consumers’ tax rate this 28% is on turnover rather than Gross Gaming Revenue. This means that for every ₹100 consumer bets the company will pay ₹28 before any winnings are deducted.

Will Online Sports Betting be Regulated Throughout India?

In our opinion, the outlook for regulated sports online gambling in India throughout the entirety of the country doesn’t look promising. Certain states seem to be firmly opposed to any form of gambling. Megahalaya for example repealed its Gambling Act due to a lot of pressure from the public.

Tamil Nadu is another state against gambling and passed The Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 (TNGPLA) which banned all forms of online gambling, including “games of mere skill”. Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh have all passed similar anti-gambling legislation.

With that being said, there have been a few positive signs for sports betting in the country. One such instance was in 2018 when the Law Commission of India submitted its report on the legal framework for gambling and sports betting, including cricket. This included suggestions that the Central Government could enact a law that would regulate sports betting and clearly define games of skill which would have expressly answered the question “Is online betting legal in India?”

Despite this report, no law was enacted and it seems very unlikely that the central government will pass any such law and make online gambling in India legal at a federal level in the foreseeable future.

Responsible Gambling for Online Bettors in India

Problem gambling can be a serious issue that can have detrimental effects on someone’s mental health, relationships, and financial stability. Online betting sites often have responsible gambling resources such as betting limits, deposit limits, cooling-off periods, and even self-exclusion. Many resources are available for those who are struggling with gambling addiction, including the 5 listed below.

Our Final Thoughts About Online Betting in India

After reading this article on “Is online betting legal in India?”, you can see just how complicated the situation is. And even though sports betting in India is legal in parts of the country and is hugely popular, it remains prohibited in most parts of the country.

There’s some positive news for gambling fans with the high court decisions protecting wagering on games of skill such as horse racing, plus the government setting up self-regulatory bodies for online gaming. However, sports betting looks unlikely to become regulated in the whole country any time soon.

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Joe Yarnold

Joe Yarnold has been a part of the SBS team since 2021. He works as a content editor and writer specializing in gambling. He has a background in writing informative articles on all aspects of gambling. Although his focus is on casinos he also has a passion for sports betting and has years of experience in this field.