The position of gambling in India is best described as a grey zone. Even though a large number of people participate in the gambling business, it is still frowned upon by Indian society. This has led to regulations on gambling, but the betting market is complicated all the same.
The main reason why gambling laws in India are so complicated is that it is a state legislated issue. This means that apart from the gambling Act of 1867, followed by the centre, states are allowed to change parts of it to accommodate certain aspects of betting. For example, Sikkim and Goa are the two states in India where casinos are permitted, while Daman and Diu is the only union territory in India where casinos are allowed. However, betting on lotteries, horse racing and cricket are considered legal. However, this does not mean that all types of gambling are allowed in the country. There is a particular parameter that needs to be considered before deciding if it is to be legal or not.
India sees gambling in 2 sections: as a game of skill and as a game of chance. Games of pure chance like the card games of brag, flush etc. are banned in India and if caught playing, can bring oneself a fine of 100 rupees or up to 1 month of imprisonment. However games that are not purely based on chance and require some level of skill such as Rummy, Poker, Teen Patti, etc. are not banned, and for this reason, it is extremely popular in the country.
Online gambling is strictly prohibited all over the country, and if caught playing online, it can get one a fine of 90000 rupees or a prison sentence of more than three months. However, online betting on horse racing, lotteries, poker, Rummy, teen Patti, etc. are allowed in the country. Horse racing and lotteries make the list because it is permitted by the Gambling Act of 1867.
It is quite evident from the people’s reaction that gambling is certainly publically frowned upon in the country. However, Nations worldwide have considered India as one of the best gambling destinations in the world because of the immense potential of the market in India. Even though all these regulations exist, a large amount of illegal gambling goes on in India. Needless to say, Indians love gambling. The annual revenue from India’s gambling market is estimated to be around 60 billion USD. Unofficially however certain gambling markets are unregulated, and a lot of money goes unaccounted for. To change this, the government has to bring a new system into practice and regulate the immense underground gambling market. For this, the government has to legalise gambling and put restrictions on the same so that all the illegal money goes to the people of India. Banning something only creates a broader underground market for it. Just like cannabis is being legalised all over Canada so that it can be regulated, India needs to understand the potential behind gambling in India and control it accordingly to get the best results.