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Let me just state the obvious here: Cricket is the most popular sport in India.
The first recorded match was in 1721. That’s nearly 300 years the country has enjoyed playing and watching the sport.
And lots of people watch it.
Whenever there’s a big match about 400 million people tune in to watch it. That’s 400 million people of a population of 1.3 billion – or 1/3.
(Maybe ‘popular’ is an understatement?)
Anyway, a lot of Indians also bet on cricket. And, according to our website statistics, a lot of them worry about the legalities of online gambling in India. They want to know if they’re at (legal) risk for betting on cricket.
So, are they? Are you?
That’s what this page will explore in more detail. Let’s jump into it.
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Some online betting sites allow customers from India to deposit and bet at their website, but many of these sites don’t specifically cater to the Indian population. They don’t always offer the sports that is popular in India or allow you to use your favored currency, which all makes it very difficult for players from India to bet under comfortable circumstances. However, there are a few bookmakers out there that caters to Indian bettors specifically.
We would recommend using Bet365 as your bookmaker. Here you can deposit, bet and withdraw using Indian Rupee (INR). This saves you from having to pay expensive exchange fees if you were to deposit using USD or other currencies. They are also very generous when it comes to giving out bonuses and other promotions, and we have not even started talking about their cricket bets selections. Top cricket betting site all over.
Other bookmakers we would recommend for players from India includes Dafabet. These are also very friendly to the market in India and offer lots of betting options on for example cricket, and they also serve the INR currency. They are a new betting site, but cater specifically to Indian players and those that love cricket so it is recommended to check them out.
You can read the reviews for these sites if you go to our cricket betting sites page or see above.
Let me start this section off with this –
Laws, gambling or otherwise, are vague. It doesn’t matter what country you’re looking into.
A lot of things are going to ‘depend’ or be considered a ‘grey area.’ Nothing is every black or white.
And that’s definitely the case for India’s gambling laws.
One reason for this (in India’s case) is they rely on outdated laws that don’t factor in the advances in technology.
Take the Public Gambling Act of 1867, for example.
This is more than 150 years old. But the country still leans on this law as if it’s relevant.
The PGA doesn’t do much – it merely makes running a gambling house illegal. The penalty is relatively small – 200 and/or 3 months prison.
Of course, this law also brings up the luck vs skill argument. And while you could say that sports betting (and poker and blackjack) are more about skill than luck, the country doesn’t seem to see things that way.
So, sports betting is a grey area at best, and illegal at worst.
(Though that hasn’t stopped an estimated $60 billion from flowing through the country – half of which is assumed to be wagered illegally.)
Fortunately, India allows each state to determine their own gambling laws.
It’s possible to gamble (legally) in Goa, Daman and Sikkim. In fact, there are 12 brick and mortar casinos between Goa and Sikkim alone, where you can bet on sports and play casino games.
But, only offline.
Online gambling is possible. But because of the Information Technology Act 2000, any activity the government views as corruptible to its people is prohibited. This comes with fines of up to 100,000 and/or 5 years in prison.
But, it’s still possible.
Indians are able to place bets with offshore sportsbooks and casinos. A couple examples include Bet365, 888 and Pinnacle. All 3 are top-notch, and all 3 accept Indians.
And since they’re offshore there is little the Indian government can do (outside of getting involved with payment processing – which I’ll cover in a minute – or censoring what their people can do online, which it sounds like they’re doing or trying to do).
So, that’s the long and short of it.
Gambling in India is legal in a few states, but only offline. If you want to gamble online you’ll have to do so (illegally) at an offshore sportsbook or casino.
And that doesn’t look like it’ll change anytime soon, either.
The only positive thing I’ve seen is from January 2016. The Board for Control of Cricket in India claimed they were considering starting a team to study and put into practice the retired Chief of Justice’s recommendations to legalize cricket betting.
But experts and handicappers alike think it will take years to turn into law.
Most Euro and UK sportsbooks accept a wide variety of banking methods. You can deposit with methods like e-wallets, credit or debit cards. These are convenient (most people have access to these options) and are quick (deposits clear instantly).
What’s more is many of these books will let you deposit and play in rupees. So you don’t have to worry about exchange rates.
That’s harder to say.
For example, some books – one of which, reportedly, is Bet365 — will not accept credit or debit card payments from Indians.
That creates a problem, to say the least.
You might also run into problems trying to use PayPal, Neteller or Entropay, all of which have had problems with India.
And you can thank the Payment and Settlement Act, 2007 for that. This was signed into law on December 20th, 2007 by Madame President Patil.
This law gives the Reserve Bank of India the ability to regulate all forms of electronic payments. The most important part of the law states that:
Payment system not to operate without authorisation : (1) No person, other than the Reserve Bank, shall commence or operate a payment system except under and in accordance with an authorisation issued by the Reserve Bank under the provisions of this Act:
You know what this means, don’t you?
The country gives them the right to make policies on demand for anything to do with payment processing.
(Policies created on a whim –without much thought— are hardly ever a good thing.)
And that’s not your only problem. There’s also the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999. This governs the exchange of foreign currencies.
This, too, can get in your way of making a deposit if you try to make a deposit to an online sportsbook in anything other than rupees (for whatever reason).
The bottom line –
Online gambling is illegal in India. And you may have hurdles you’ll need to get over to make your deposit.
The good news?
It is possible. Lots of other Indians are doing it. You can too IF you’re okay with the risks.
We’re not lawyers. We can’t tell you what’s right or wrong in your state, or what your next action should be.
Of course, you can always gamble offline if you want to be 100% compliant.
But if you want to bet on cricket online, be sure to choose a top-notch sportsbook, and preferably one that accepts the banking method you want to use.
From there, simply cross your fingers.