The Legality of Sports Betting in India

The current publication looks into the legal status of sports betting in India, the related pieces of legislation, and the prospects for this highly-lucrative economic sector.

The Legality of Sports Betting in India
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Nowadays, sports betting has become a widely acclaimed source of entertainment all over the globe. It has expanded to such an extent that besides wagering on various sports, contemporary operators offer to bet on events from the entertainment industry and even politics. 

Placing a wager on the outcome of sports events is also deeply rooted in the culture of Indians, the second most populous nation in the world. However, as far as the legality of this booming industry in the South Asian country is concerned, not everything is clear and straightforward. 

The current publication looks into the legal status of sports betting in India, the related pieces of legislation, and the prospects for this highly-lucrative economic sector. 

A General Look at Sports Betting in India

With the advance in technologies, an increasing number of people in India have computers and mobile devices as well as access to high-speed internet. Furthermore, a good variety of India-facing offshore betting platforms are offering various promotional incentives, aiming to attract new customers from the country. 

Considering the large middle-class population of India and the fact that a great portion of it loves to gamble, the potential of the industry is huge. We should not forget about the Indians’ passion for cricket (not matched anywhere in the world) and the great number of illegal bets placed on the Indian Premier League each year. 

Besides cricket, Indian sports fans are passionately engrossed in football. Other popular disciplines to bet on include tennis, badminton, horse racing, and basketball, among others. 

All these factors combine to contribute to the flourishing of the Indian sports betting market. 

The Legal Status of Sports Betting in India

When it comes to the laws and regulations pertaining to the sports betting landscape in India, it can be safely stated that it is quite ambiguous. Currently, there are no Indian sports betting suppliers operating from within the country. 

Proponents of legalizing sports betting in India claim that it would undoubtedly invigorate the country’s economy. Instead of channelling a large amount of money from bettors to foreign operators, they suggest that laws should be updated, in accordance with the present-day circumstances and market sentiments. 

Sports Betting Laws in India

According to the most important piece of legislation in India relating to sports betting and gambling is the outdated Public Gambling Act of 1867. According to it, all forms of gambling are illegal. Online sports betting is technically not banned by any particular law in the Indian legal system. However, particular provisions make a distinction between games of chance and games of skill. This introduces even more confusion and uncertainty in the legal status of sports betting. 

Yet another important factor to be taken into consideration is that India is divided into states, which have been granted the right to formulate and enact their legislation concerning gambling as per their discretion. 

The state of Sikkim, for example, is famous for its more liberal stance on gambling and sports betting, with casinos and lotteries operating on its territory. The State of Goa boasts a thriving tourism boom due to several floating casinos. As for the other states across the country, they have adopted a more conservative approach when it comes to the establishment of gambling venues. 

The Information Technology Act of 2000 is a piece of legislation that focuses on cyber activities in India. Interestingly, it makes no mention of sports betting or gambling, thus leaving the industry out of its scope. 

Ultimately, legal experts assume that digital sports betting venues are not illegal in India in the absence of a comprehensive regulatory system or official governing authorities. 


Overall, the Indian government is expected to draft new gambling laws that would regulate the sector and generate much-needed tax revenue. The legalization of sports betting and gambling would also open up new employment opportunities. Undoubtedly, regulating the sector with appropriate laws would certainly generate greater profits for sports leagues. Some foresee legalization on a state-by-state basis over the next couple of years, but it remains to be seen whether it will be implemented.

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