The majority of the world’s best online casinos operate openly in India in order to capitalize on an absolutely massive population and a growing middle class. Indian casino sites are well aware of the opportunities to attract new customers and go to great lengths to make themselves attractive to you, the individual gambler. New player bonuses, frequent promotions and ever-growing jackpots are just a few of the perks you can expect to see when you play online.
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Although Indian gaming laws are sorely outdated, authorities have so far expressed little interest in passing any legislation to either prohibit or embrace online gambling. There is one law on the books that may disrupt certain payments to gambling sites (such as credit and debit cards), but we will explain in greater detail below on how you can fund your account and claim your winnings with ease.
The current situation works in favour of players, but the lack of regulation makes it imperative that you choose a reputable casino site – ideally one that is licensed in some other jurisdiction such as the UK. Choosing a casino licensed elsewhere greatly increases the odds that you will have a safe and fun experience, because you will at least know that some other regulatory body has performed due diligence to ensure the casino is run by upstanding people and that the odds are fair.
To that end, we specifically recommend gambling sites that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) because we believe it is the most stringent and respect-worthy licensing body in the world. Each casino you see listed on this page is authorized by the UK Gambling Commission. We should stress that the UKGC does not have any real authority India; a license from the UKGC simply indicates that the casino was thoroughly investigated at one point and is subject to regular audits.
How to Deposit and Withdraw in Rupees
Once you have chosen where you play online, the first thing you’ll need to do is make a deposit so you can bet real money. Online casinos have a number of options that you can use to fund your account:
A law called the Payment and Settlement Systems Act was passed in 2007 for the purpose of supervising and regulating payment systems in India. This law was not passed with the specific purpose of targeting Indian casino sites, but it did have sweeping affects that may sometimes result in declined credit and debit card deposits. Most online casinos do still accept credit and debit deposits, but there is a chance your payment will be declined due to the effects of that law. However, there is also a good chance that you will have no problems whatsoever.
If you do have issues depositing with your card, there are plenty of other alternatives. E-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill do work in India along with certain prepaid cards and wire transfers. If you log in and visit your casino’s cashier, you will see all available alternatives along with instructions for making your first deposit.
Withdrawing your winnings is even easier once you have already successfully completed a deposit. In most cases, the casino will send your money back to you through the same method you originally used to deposit. So if you used Neteller to fund your account, your winnings will be paid back to you via Neteller. If you used a credit card, you may be asked to set up an e-wallet account or simply have them send your money via bank wire.
The best Indian gambling sites can also handle currency conversions on your behalf if they don’t support bets placed in rupees. In that case, the currency exchange happens automatically at the time of deposit and then again when you withdraw. That day’s exchange rate will be used to switch between rupees and the casino’s default currency.
Indian Gambling Sites and the Law
India’s gaming laws are poorly suited to deal with the modern reality of online gambling. The only comprehensive law that deals specifically with gambling is the Public Gambling Act of 1867 (full text). Authorities still use that law to prohibit real-world gambling except for specifically-authorized casinos located in Goa, Sikkim and Daman.
In short, the Public Gambling Act prohibits the operation of of any “common gaming house,” which it defines as any house, room, enclosure or place in which “cards, dice, tables or other instruments of gaming are kept or used for the profit or gain of the person owning, occupying, using or keeping such house.” The law also prohibits people from being found within or even in the vicinity of such a gaming house.
The application of the Public Gambling Act is fairly straightforward when it comes to real-world gambling, but whether or not it applies to online gaming is open to interpretation. Ask 10 different attorneys and you will probably get 10 different answers as to whether or not the Act applies to online casino sites.
However, the fact of the matter is that authorities have so far shown no inclination to apply the law to individual gamblers who merely play online. We have researched the issue to death and have been unable to find a single instance of someone getting in trouble for playing casino games online in India. At this point, it is certainly safer to play online than it is to visit an underground gambling den.
There is also the Information and Technology Act of 2000 to consider. This law does actually mention online gambling, but it only gives the government the authority to order internet service providers to block access to known casino sites. Once again, the government has so far shown no interest in actually applying the law to online gambling. All the top Indian casino sites remain easily accessible to this day.
All told, it seems unlikely that India will come down against online gambling any time soon. In fact, pro-gaming legislation seems slightly more likely than a renewed prohibition effort. Two individual states have already attempted to pass legislation that would have allowed online gambling sites headquartered in those states to accept customers from across India. Those efforts were unsuccessful, but they did show that at least some lawmakers in India are open to the idea of regulating online gaming.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.