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Betting in India

Published on: 01/02/2016

In India, all betting activities are strictly regulated with just two of its states legally permitted to promote gambling. Just one casino can be found in the state of Sikkim, while Goa offers seven gambling venues and five casino cruise ships located on the River Mandovi. The nation’s citizens spend over 1 trillion Rupees every year on casino gambling, which roughly equates to 30 billion US Dollars.

Horse race betting is popular in India, and there are many track located in cities throughout the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Mysore, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Gambling on the horses is fully legal and many sportsbooks and betting pools offer their services on site at the racecourse venues. Betting shops welcome horse race betting and provide live coverage of many events. Approximately 2 billion Rupees is wagered annually on the Tote, with a similar amount thought to be generated through sportsbooks, providing the government a major amount of tax income.

The law in India prohibits betting via the telephone, smart card or through the internet. A company known as Playwin Lotto runs the state lottery of Sikkim, which, along with a game called cash-prize rummy, are the only games which can be played online.

Sikkim is the only state in India allowed to offer licences for online betting. Surprisingly, up until 2011, not one had been granted for any form of betting. Due to the lack of licences being granted, unlawful gambling activities have increased.

A popular English newspaper (Guardian) published a report from India’s Sports Ministry stating that local police were struggling to control unlawful sportsbooks, and that the changes in the law were needed in order to resolve the problem. India’s government are looking into the pros and cons of legalizing gambling throughout the nation, and analysing whether it can fit into the nation’s culture without prejudice.

Gambling enthusiasts in India can freely bet on foreign gambling web sites, as there are no laws to prohibit the activity. As a result, hundreds of offshore sportsbooks accept players from Indian addresses including Bet365, Canbet, Ladbrokes and William Hill. With payment services such as credit cards, debit cards and eWallets, players can deposit and withdraw in their local currency.

Research suggests that there are close to 2,000 gambling web sites available to the citizens of India, all offering casino games including poker and bingo, as well as sports and horse race betting. Exchange betting is also available through the popular Betfair website. This allows Indian bettors to back and lay bets across a range of sports including the national sport of cricket.