Cricket is very popular in India, and besides having a large audience, there is also a lot of money to bet. The Centre for International Sports Security estimates that the Indian cricket betting market is worth at least $150 billion per year.
Is online cricket betting legal in India? The gambling laws in India are very vague. There are a lot of grey areas and it can make things very confusing. First of all, it is important to understand that Indian law does not prohibit online gambling nationwide, and the 1950 Indian Constitution provides that each state can make its own gambling laws independently of each other. Each state has the right to make its own laws regarding online gambling.
Games of Chance and Games of Skill
Indian law distinguishes games of chance from games that depend on the skill level of the player. What is the difference between games of skill and games of chance? A game of chance is a game in which the player’s actions have zero effect on the outcome of the game. An example is roulette. No matter how much experience and knowledge you have of roulette, your chances of winning will always remain the same. There is nothing you can do to influence the outcome.
A game of skill is a game where players act in a way that increases their chances of success as they become more knowledgeable about the game they are playing. Sports betting requires an element of skill. You can train yourself to do better in cricket betting by following our cricket betting guide.
In 1996, the Supreme Court of India ruled that horse racing betting should be legal because it is based on skill and not luck. Although the same logic suggests that all sports betting should be legal, this is not the case.
Another Supreme Court decision in 2015 declared that rummy is also a game of skill. The Supreme Court ruled that rummy involves a significant amount of skill and therefore may continue to be under threat of persecution. In addition, the Bombay High Court stated in 2019 that fantasy sports rely on a player’s superior knowledge, judgment and concentration, and are therefore undoubtedly a game of skill, not chance. These rulings, while independent of each other, pave a positive path for the full implementation of cricket betting legislation nationwide.
Why is online cricket betting legal in India?
While physical bookmakers and betting companies located in India may be illegal, most online betting sites and sportsbooks are located and hosted overseas and are therefore not subject to Indian law. The Internet is not a physical place.
While online casinos and sportsbooks run and operated by Indian citizens may violate any gambling restrictions imposed by state law, foreign establishments serving Indian customers have no problem at all. They can even offer deposits and payments in Indian rupees and in Indian languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Guajarati. This loophole may seem strange and detrimental to Indian businesses and the local economy, but unfortunately it is the latter that is allowed by law.
It is conceivable that if the Indian government really wanted to make online gambling illegal, they could have drafted a law banning online gambling. They have never done so. This is why Indian citizens can legally register and bet on cricket and other sports on online gambling sites without fear that they will break the law.
Place bets only on safe betting sites
Since offshore betting sites are outside the scope of Indian law, they are free for all to use. It is important to note that many of these sites are inherently untrustworthy or worse, fraudulent. Only use betting sites that are licensed by a known national entity. These internationally recognized entities are the gold standard for online gambling licensing, and their licensed sites are regularly audited and inspected to ensure that they are safe and fair to players.
On the books, illegal gambling is punishable by fines of up to INR 200. In some cases, short-term imprisonment may also be imposed. However, to date, there has not been a single case of an Indian citizen being arrested for betting online. If there is no way to legalize cricket betting, then the huge sports betting providers will never be able to offer their services to Indians. Having said that, when you decide to bet online, it is best to exercise caution and make sure that you are not violating the laws of your state.