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Are casinos legal in India?

Casinos have always been major attractions for tourists and gamblers around the world. Cities like Las Vegas, Macau, and Atlantic City are on the `must visit´ list of many people, because of their attraction towards casinos. While there is nothing that can beat the thrill of playing in a live casino, online casinos have recently gained a lot of popularity amongst beginners as well as seasoned gamblers. You can visit sites like casinoexpert.in to find the best online casinos, as well as tips and tricks for online gambling.

In India, gambling has been practiced since ancient times. In our mythologies like the Mahabharata, we can find the mention of gambling games. Even today, gambling is seen as a recreational activity, played among family and friends during the festivities of Diwali and Janmashtami. Card games like Teen Patti, Rummy, and Andar Bahar are very popular during these gatherings.

Indian gambling laws

While playing a few games of Teen Patti or Rummy with close friends and family could be viewed as an innocent activity, the laws regarding commercial gambling are quite strict in India. According to the Public Gambling Act, passed in 1867, by the British who were ruling over India at that time, all forms of gambling were considered to be illegal. Running a gambling house, or visiting one, was considered to be an offense, and punishable with an imprisonment of up to 6 months, and a fine of ₹200. This act is still in force in most parts of the country, even after more than 150 years.

Online gambling

As the aforementioned law was passed in an era long before the internet was born, there is obviously no mention of online gambling in it. And over the years, there have been no amendments to include online gambling in it. The Information Technology Act of 2000 was passed in an effort to curb the flow of foreign exchange through gambling sites, but the Act is so broad in scope, leaving much to interpretation.

As the current interpretation of Indian law stands, online gambling websites are legal in India, provided they are hosted outside India. Being located outside the country, they are not governed by Indian laws, and as long as it is legal to operate an online casino in the country they are hosted in, they can continue to offer their services to Indiana.

Taking advantage of this legal loophole, there are many foreign websites that accept Indian players. Most of these sites operate from the online gaming havens like Malta, Curacao, and Gibraltar, and are regulated by the Gaming Authorities in their respective countries.

FEMA

Foreign Exchange Management Act, or FEMA, is another law that potentially affects online gambling. While this law was formed to regulate the exchange of Indian rupees to foreign currencies, Online gamblers who deposit money with online casinos by the way of dollars or pounds, are technically converting currency and could be tried under the law.

But thankfully, now most reputed online casinos accept deposit and withdrawal requests in Indian Rupees, eliminating any need of exchanging currencies. Not only that, in addition to the routine methods of transactions like Bank transfers, and transfer via debit/credit cards, some online casinos also allow more `Indian´ methods like UPI, Paytm, and PhonePe.

Conclusion

Till now, there have been no known cases of anyone being arrested or prosecuted for online gambling in India. Online gambling and betting is not only allowed but has thrived in India, because of the safety and convenience that they offer. Until more specific and stricter laws of online gambling are passed, Indians can `legally´ enjoy gambling at online casinos.

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