The legal aspect of gambling in India is quite a complex issue and is multidimensional. In general, according to the law of the land, gambling is technically prohibited in India. However, you are one Google search away from finding out that India has a total of 16 casinos operating legally in the country. So what is the criteria for gambling in India?
The gambling status in India can be stated as a ‘grey legality’. The 1867 Act on Gambling prohibits citizens of the country from any form of gambling. However, gambling in India is state-legislated, which means that rules and regulations regarding gambling are done by the state governments and not just by the central government. This has given rise to some interesting situations in India. There are only two states and one union territory in India where casinos are allowed. The two states are namely Sikkim and Goa, and the union territory is Daman and Diu, which comes under the legislative power of Goa. Currently, there are two casinos in Sikkim, namely Casino Sikkim and Casino Mahjong. There are ten casinos in total in Goa, six of which are land-based and four of which are called floating casinos because they literally float on the river Mandovi. The four floating casinos of Goa are Casino Deltin Jaqk, Casino Deltin Royale, Casino Pride and Casino Pride 2. While the last two are owned by the Pride Group, the first two are found by the Deltin Group.
Even though betting on horse racing and lotteries is allowed, other forms of gambling are strictly prohibited. However, people have found ways to work around this law. The Indian judiciary considers games as a game of chance and game of skill. Games of skill allowed in India whereas games of chance are not. Therefore games like Rummy, Poker, etc. are allowed, while games like brag, flush, etc. which are purely chance-based are not considered legal.
Online casinos are strictly prohibited in the country, and a fine of 90,000 rupees can be imposed on the person caught gambling online. Sikkim did try to create online platforms for gambling, but it failed miserably. However, Sikkim does run an online lottery that people all over the country can bet on.
Whatever be the case, a large amount of gambling goes unchecked in India. A report stated that this amount was something close to 60 billion USD annually. To put an end to this underground business and to bring all this money to the people, the government has to legalise gambling, but it has to be strictly regulated. It has been proven in several countries that the gambling industry provides a large amount to the government and in turn, helps the people of the country in getting better amenities.