Online Betting in India

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Betting on sports in India has a strong but muddled tradition. Whilst it is legal and well-regulated to bet on horse races, all other types of sports betting are not properly regulated, which includes betting on cricket – the most popular sport in India. Let’s have a look at sports betting in India.

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Legality of sports betting in the India

There are various laws regulating gambling and betting in India, or essentially outlawing both. The most important laws you will generally see are:

  • Public Gaming Act (from 1867)
  • Lotteries (Regulation) Act (1998)
  • Information Technology Act of 2000
  • Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999

All these acts boil down to a few things we can quickly summarise:

  • Gambling is only allowed on activities involving skill (this includes Poker as a game of skill)
  • Horse racing is legal in India – usually at trackside bookies
  • Lotteries are legal and regulated by each state
  • India may block offshore websites if they are deemed to promote “offensive” or dangerous content (including gambling sites)
  • It’s illegal to make deposits at online casinos or betting sites in any currency other than Indian rupees

Beyond that, various Indian states have regulated online betting and gambling, though there are currently no federal laws regulating online sports betting in India.

Governing bodies

The good news is that the governments of Sikkim, Nagaland, Telangana and Maharashtra have specific laws and regulations for online betting and gambling. Maharashtra is the only state that outlaws online betting altogether, mind you.

All online betting or gambling sites run or authorised by these states can be considered legal.

Punters from India looking to use offshore betting sites for their sports betting, may do so. But it is advisable to only use properly regulated betting sites with licenses from the UK, Malta, Gibraltar or any other European jurisdiction. Alternatively, betting sites offering their services to customers from India may be licensed through the Philippines (PAGCOR) or Curacao. Whilst these jurisdictions are not our favourites, they are better than playing at an unlicensed site.

How does sports betting differ in the India from other regions?

Well, cricket is the most popular sports in India, which means it is also the most popular sport to bet on for Indian punters. Whilst punters from India are always keen to bet on local matches, it’s even more important to bet on the IPL and the World Cup as well as all the other big international events where players from India are participating.

As we have seen, betting on horse races is also very popular in India. Horse racing comes with a long tradition thanks to the British occupation and betting on it is the only truly legal sports betting available in India.

Any betting site catering to Indian customers should cover both sports comprehensively. Tennis, rugby and football are also popular sports in India, which plenty of punters like to bet on.

Punters from India are preferably betting in their own currency, so a sports betting site suitable to Indian players should make it possible to make deposits in INR, which also includes betting in INR and eventually making withdrawals in INR as well.

Ideally, sports betting in India is not just offered in English but perhaps in Hindi or other Indian languages as well.

Best Indian Betting Sites

Punters from India will be looking for betting sites that accept Indian players, allow deposits and withdrawals in INR and cover their favourite sports.

Betting sites that are therefore excellent for Indian players are:

  • Bet365
  • Betway
  • 888sport
  • Unibet
  • LeoVegas

There are plenty of betting sites catering to Indian customers that we have not covered here. Among them are:

  • 10Cric
  • Dafabet
  • IndiBet

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