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Gambling Laws in India


Gambling is an age-old practice that dates back to the Paleolithic age. However, different forms of Gambling owe their existence to different civilizations and also different times. For instance, Playing Cards originated in the 9th century in China and the first known casino started functioning for the first time in Venice, Italy in the 16th century. The history of gambling in India dates back to the pre-Vedic times. Do you think the great epic of Mahabharata would exist if the board and dice game had not played a key role in the same? Of course not! Originally, gambling was meant to be a source of entertainment, but keeping in view the ill effects arising from the act, it is prohibited typically on the grounds of morality and religion. Today, there are various laws in India which regulate this practice.

Gambling and Laws

The general law which regulates gambling in India is The Public Gambling Act, 1867. It prohibits owning or running of a gambling house by a person. However, the constitution of India entrusts the states for the formulation of gambling laws within their states. However these gambling legislations by these states were enacted before the advent of online gambling so they refer to gambling only in the physical activities.

The Indian government has always been averse to the game of betting and probability; the states of Goa and Sikkim being the only exception. These two states have allowed gambling and betting in their respective states with certain regulations imposed by the state governments. The ‘Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976’ and the ‘Sikkim Regulation of Gambling (Amendment), 2005’ are the acts responsible for partial legalization of gambling in the form of card rooms and casinos in these states.

In relatively recent years, there have been laws regulating online gambling too. The Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 after being amended in 2015 restricts the offering of online and sports games under the licenses issued within the state of Sikkim. Another law is formulated by the government of Nagaland and is called Nagaland Prohibition of Gaming and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2016.


Although there are laws for the monitoring of gambling, they are not very strict. In the modern era in which everyone is connected through the internet, any person can bet online through an alien website. No law in India prevents such an act. The gambling laws are till date very vague and unclear in India. Although the judiciary has set examples by giving judgments in various cases which are being referred time and again. The government needs to take control even more in order to prevent any illegal money laundering which might take place due to the misuse of the internet.


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