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Online casinos in India and legality


Online casinos have gained immense popularity worldwide, providing players with convenient access to a wide range of real money games from the comfort of their homes.

However, the legality of online casinos varies from country to country. In the case of India, the legal landscape surrounding online gambling has been a topic of discussion and debate. This article explores the current status of online casinos in India, the laws governing them, and the challenges faced by both players and operators in this rapidly growing industry.

In India, the legality of online casinos is a complex issue due to outdated laws that fail to specifically address online gambling. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 is the primary legislation governing gambling in India. However, as it predates the internet, it does not mention online gambling explicitly.

Most forms of gambling (online or offline) are considered illegal in India, with the exception of a few states where specific forms of gambling, such as lotteries and horse racing, are permitted. The states of Sikkim and Nagaland have recently legislated laws concerning online gambling that require a license by the operators.

For remaining states, the legal status of online casinos is ambiguous. However, the stand of the federal government is that online casinos are illegal and has issued multiple advisories directing print and television from promoting online gambling platforms.

But online casinos continue to operate in the country and due to lack of regulations players often face issues with arbitrary limitations on withdrawals, fly by night operators, operators using identity thefts to operate bank accounts etc.

Further, international credit/debit cards can be used only for permissible current account transactions subject to the limits mentioned in the schedules of the Current Account Rules issued under exchange laws. The foreign exchange laws further prohibit the use of bank cards, in any manner, for the purchase of prohibited items (lottery tickets, participation in sweepstakes, football pool, etc.) making it difficult for players to transact. Players still transacting in foreign currencies for betting and gambling can be considered to be in violation of foreign exchange laws.

There have been instances of authorities issuing notices to players seeking clarification on their gaming transactions.

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