Legality Of Casinos
There is a slight misconception among Indians regarding the legality of casinos throughout India being illegal. But be assured that the Indian laws are a bit flexible and have maintained only the games of chance as illegal.
Gambling laws in India
Any game whose results cannot be predicted by some trick or skill but are solely dependent on the device with which the game is being played is known as a game of chance. Some of the most popular games of chance played around the world are Roulette, Slots, Baccarat, Teen Patti, Paanch Patti, Dragon Tiger and such.
These games are highly unpredictable and owing to this unpredictable nature of the games of chance, the Indian law of Public Gaming Act of 1867 has made them illegal throughout the country.
However, the games whose outcomes can be predicted by a special understanding of the game or skills are termed as the games of skill. These include casino games like Blackjack, Poker, Andar Bahar, etc. Such casino games can be played in India without having to worry about prosecution.
Legality of casinos in India
Gambling is a state subject in India. Hence, it is the responsibility of each state to outline laws regarding the legality of casinos which will be applicable to their respective state only. This means that a gambling law can be legal in one state and can be absolutely different in another state of India.
The 1867 Public Gambling Act is the law set up by the centre in India which is applicable to all the Indian states. However, as mentioned above states are at their own discretion to set up gambling laws for their respective states. Hence, states like Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and some others have adopted the central law of 1867 Public Gambling Act of betting legal in India.
Also, most of the Indian states have made their own online gambling laws to regulate gambling in their states wherein they have eliminated the requirement of “Game of Skill” part to play casino games from their laws. This means all kinds of games can be played in these states without having to worry about the legality of casinos gambling.
The legality of Casinos in Goa, Sikkim and Daman
The Indian states of Goa and Sikkim and union territory Daman are the only areas that have legally established casinos.
The 1976 Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act allow for the set up of casinos at the 5-Star hotels and offshore ships. Only at these establishments can a casino be operated that too with a license from the State Government.
Hence, the state of Goa hosts a total of ten casinos – four floating casinos on the River Mandovi and six of the land-based casinos. Daman also got its first land-based casino recently and the public can now access it to gamble legally.
Speaking of the state of Sikkim, there are two casinos operating there – Casino Mahjong & Casino Sikkim.
Online gambling in India
Over the years, there have been certain changes made in the Indian law of Public Gaming Act of 1867. But mostly, these are restricted towards land-based casinos and casino games. If you’re looking to the legality of casinos online in India, then the matter lies in the grey area.
There are heavy restrictions and regulations meant for betting legal in India when doing it offline but when it comes to gambling at online casino in Indian rupees, there are no restrictions as of now. So, you can play online casino games for real money in Indian territories without thinking of it being illegal. As of now, Indian players can also play several free online casino games before playing for real money.
But if you’re a resident of Maharashtra state or visiting the state for some reason, make sure you don’t gamble online in this territory. The reason behind this is, according to the Bombay Wager Act of Maharashtra state, online gambling is being banned in the entire state of Maharashtra and it is a state offence to gamble online in their territory.
Playing Poker in India
Indian states of Nagaland, Sikkim and West Bengal have permitted playing some of the casino games within their territories which include the game of skill – Poker.