Indians Continue to Bet on Offshore Bookies without Online Gambling Laws in the Country

Indians Continue to Bet on Offshore Bookies without Online Gambling Laws in the Country

Based on a report released by MyBetting India last year, around 370 million Indians would place bets on major sports events each year online. Meanwhile, 140 million would do so regularly. The sports betting market in the country is also growing at 20% each year.

However, even with these numbers, India still lacks regulations when it comes to online gambling activities. Gambling activities, in general, are regulated in India based on the Public Gambling Act of 1867 and when this law was passed, the internet was non-existent. This is why it has no mention of online gambling.

Fast forward to 2000, India also passed the Information Technology Act that regulates online activities in the country. Still, this law has not mentioned online gambling activities. This makes online casino gaming and betting neither legal nor illegal.

Indian players and punters are free to place their bets on any offshore casinos and bookies listed on sites like If they want to place their bets locally, they will have to go to states where gambling is legal. So far, only Goa, Daman, and Sikkim have legal gambling.

Of course, not everyone would like to travel to these states every time they want to gamble and this is why the locals would rather place their bets online on offshore betting sites. Doing so is effortless since many of these bookies now accept Indian players and transact with the local currency.

The Popularity of Offshore Betting Sites

It is no secret that India is fond of both gambling and sports, especially cricket. Every time a major cricket event is on like the Indian Premier League, people would flock to sites like 10CRIC, Parimatch, and Betway.

Parimatch CEO, Anton Rublevskyy, spoke with ET about their business in the country.“We conduct gambling activities based on the Curacao licensing service and offer cricket and other sports betting as well as live casinos, slots and virtual games.

“The increasing number of digital citizens in India having access to a speedy and cheap Internet connection contributes greatly to the fast growth of online betting and gambling,” Rublevskyy explained.

Many online casinos and bookies have licenses issued by Curacao, Malta, and the UK. This is because these are places where gambling is legal and strictly regulated. This is something where India is lacking according to a partner at Bharucha & Partners law firm, Kaushik Moitra.

Moitra said, “India lacks a comprehensive regulatory ecosystem vis-a-vis games of chance, like betting. Consequently, there is scope for betting companies to structure their operations in a manner that they can avoid legal action without evading the law.”

But the lawyer clarified that any gaming platform that involves the element of luck or chance should practice appropriate legal diligence. They should be compliant with the law both in a letter in spirit.

The Parimatch CEO was also asked about the legality of their service. He explained that his company has been strictly complying with the law and they are always operating within the legal boundaries set by a country – in this case, India.

Rublevskyy further explained, “The industry mostly uses the offshore license. The license allows money collection and operations in India. Additionally, in the states where gambling is prohibited, we completely respect that and the legal brands do not operate there.

“The number of online bettors and gambling players continues to grow despite some problems with state regulation of the sphere. The same situation exists with online casinos. An impressive number of people involved in this sphere influence the authorities and persuade them to take action to legalize gambling.

“The government will benefit from regulating this sphere by charging for licenses issued and having a new source of income from tax revenue. This license enables us to offer our services worldwide and we do not seek to circumvent or bypass any rules or laws. We are a responsible operator.”

What is Likely to Happen in India

It’s hard to say whether India will eventually regulate the industry. Right now, each state can start looking into this and decide on online betting’s fate within their local jurisdictions. After all, Goa, Sikkim, and Daman have legal casinos and bookies within their territories.

Some states are completely hesitant about regulating the industry including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Last year, both states implemented a wide ban on online gaming activities. However, they weren’t successful for long since the High Court struck down their amendments to prohibit online gaming activities.

Still, likely, they will push to fight gambling-related problems within their territories which could affect the take of other states in this activity.

Rublevskyy is just one of the operators that are hoping that India will still regulate the industry in the future. He said, “We would like to see betting getting legalized in India with a proper legal infrastructure to monitor the operations. We foresee state-by-state legalization in the next 3-5 years, the same way the US market has been doing it.

“Yes, India is a highly populated country hence introducing and imposing certain rules sometimes gets a bit difficult keeping different sentiments in mind but in the long run, if betting is legalized in a proper way in India, it can become a great revenue source for the country.”

Technology Update: