Current Legal Framework For Betting In India

Gambling and betting in India are state regulated, with each state deciding whether to legalize sports betting or not and how the form of entertainment can be regulated and controlled so gamblers are not over-exploited

India is one of the world’s most densely populated nations; it is safe to assume that it is home to many online gamblers and bettors. This makes for considerable interest in sports betting in India and overall gambling activities. However, determining whether gambling and betting is legal or illegal is a tad confusing question for potential new gamblers/ those who have never placed a bet before.

Gambling and betting in India are state regulated, with each state deciding whether to legalize sports betting or not and how the form of entertainment can be regulated and controlled so gamblers are not over-exploited. The main issue with this is that India has no legal framework that can be applied to all forms of gambling in the country. However, this should not worry Indian punters as they can still legally bet on their favorite sports and games. 

Before the promulgation of the constitution of India, the Public Gaming Act of 1857 governed betting and gambling in the country. In the Public Gaming Act of 1845 and 1853 enacted by the United Kingdom Parliament, games of skill like Bowling and Lawn Tennis were deemed unlawful. 

Betting in India AND Casino Gambling

After the promulgation of the new Indian constitution and its coming to power on 26th January 1950, the issues of gambling and betting were divided. Betting and gambling were listed under entry 34 of the state list. This means that only the state legislature has the power to make laws concerning the taxation of betting and gambling under entry 62 of the state list. After coming into effect, the constitution of India allowed most states to adopt principles of the Public Gambling Act of 1857 with certain amendments, and each state had its own act on gambling. 

The gambling industry in India is estimated to be worth more than 90 billion U.S dollars, including both regulated and unregulated gaming. India’s gaming industry can be classified broadly into;

  • Horse racing. 
  • Prize competitions.
  • Lotteries.
  • Sports betting.
  • Games of skill and chance

Horse Racing

Most states have adopted the Public Gambling Act of 1867 with few amendments pertaining to horse racing, which has been specifically excluded. India’s supreme court recognized that horse racing was a game of skill as it involved judging a horse’s form and jockey, the nature of the race, among many other variables. Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Sikkim and Haryana are among the states where it is legal.


The Lotteries Regulation Act of 1998 regulates lotteries within India. The Lotteries Regulation Act was implemented in 2010, regulating the number of draws and minimum prize payout, among other things. 

Sports Betting

Sports betting can neither be defined as a game of skill nor chance by the supreme court of India, a state court, or the high court of India. With the promulgation of the Sikkim Online Gaming Regulation Act 2008, the state of Sikkim took the initiative of legalizing online sports betting. Under this act, a license for planning bets on sports games like Football, Cricket, Basketball, Lawn Tennis, Golf and Horse Racing can be given. 

In Meghalaya, the sport of a teer (a form of archery) from within the ambit of the state’s gambling Act is licensed to bet on.

 Prize Competitions

Prize competitions are regulated under the Prize Competition Act of 1995. Prize competition means any competition in which prizes are offered for the solution of any puzzle based upon the building up, arrangement, and permutation of letters, words and figures. The Prize Competition Act was passed by Parliament in 1955 to regulate gambling activities that awarded prizes as winnings. According to the Prize Competition Act, prizes offered in prize competitions should not exceed 1,000 Rupees. In addition, the entries should not exceed 2000 people.

The Prize Competition Act’s applicability does extend to the states of Madras, Bombay, Orrisa, Uttar Pradesh and East Punjab States Union.

Difference between Game of Skill and Game of chance

Skill-based games require a player’s expertise, and winning is determined by how aware you are of the rules and how efficiently you play. It is not true that a game of skill has no chance component; however, individual skills determine success. Games like Chess and Checkers fall in this category. 

Games of chance are governed by randomized factors of any kind. The games of chance and probability are linked inextricably. The game’s outcome is by chance since players have no control over how the game goes. Roulette and Poker are good examples of games of chance. 


India should legalize sports betting; it is losing millions of dollars to offshore sportsbooks due to its unregulated sports betting market. Many online betting platforms welcome sports fans from India and even support their local currency. This proves that the laws in place are outdated and do not reflect the demand for sports betting services. Furthermore, determining problem gambling rates is impossible due to the lack of governing body. Such a move would benefit the country’s economy and the punters who can enjoy a safe betting environment.

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