Is Offshore Poker Legal or Illegal in India?


India has a large population that enjoys spending time on their smartphone devices. Poker and other casino games are becoming a popular pastime in the country. So, is it legal to do so? Are the offshore poker sites listed here operating legally in the country and are they safe to use?

Outdated and Hazy Gambling Laws in India

If you haven’t already noticed, India is a prominent place with a massive population to match. Like the United States, it’s challenging to have a total government preside over every matter and issue. Therefore, Indian states operate their regulations on multiple facets, much like the US system. While this is great for some problems, changing or manipulating others can be challenging.

Many Indian state governments still cite the 1867 Public Gambling Act for their beliefs and stances on gambling. Given how old this legislation is, it doesn’t refer to internet gambling. While newer bills like the Information Technology Act of 2000 reference online gambling, they don’t go into great detail. As a result, these local governments are typically allowed to set their own rules on online gambling, including poker. A lot of conjecture centers around the idea that players shouldn’t profit from purely luck-based games.

Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Odisha, and Telangana are states that have explicitly addressed the issue and decided that it should be banned. Residents of these areas are not allowed to play online poker, and online poker sites cannot offer services. Unfortunately, some of the country’s biggest cities by population, like Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Surat, cannot play online poker.

Everywhere else can technically play online poker, as sites like Adda52 and Spartan offer gambling experiences to Indian audiences, not in those states above.

Offshore Poker Creates Opportunities for Indian Gamblers

While many people in India can use domestic poker and casino sites, sometimes they aren’t as good as others that operate overseas. Whether it’s the game selection, banking options, or aesthetics, some foreign sites offer a better product. Therefore, it leads the Indian gambling market to look elsewhere.

Luckily, offshore casinos aren’t scrutinized as much as domestic ones. The Indian government pretty much allows offshore poker sites to operate (as long as another country licenses them), but with the caveat that it’s not their responsibility to help if something goes wrong. Given that Curacao gambling licenses are almost as easy to obtain as a birth certificate, this leads to a lot of offshore sites being technically based in that country.

Given that these sites are seldom monitored or stopped from appearing, people living in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Odisha, and Telangana can usually use them to play online poker and other casino games. However, if the authorities find out about such activities, they might press charges against the individual playing such games as they are explicitly outlawed in the local legislation.

Forecast Looks Positive to Indian Poker Fans

Multiple reports and data insights have suggested that the Indian online poker community will only grow for the next six years. One of the key reasons is that more Indian citizens are procuring smart devices, and the connectivity technology in India is allowing for better internet connections for more and more of the population.

This has led to an increasing acceptance of gambling as a pastime (as opposed to a moral taboo like it was in the past). Given this change in opinion, more and more businesses are looking to expand into India, with many benefits being offered to prospective customers, like enhanced sign-up bonuses, etc.

Tamil Nadu is one state that is actively discussing whether to allow online gambling. Some local government members believe that online poker and other games like rummy should not be outlawed, as they are not purely luck-based games. Moreover, they require skill to win. While this case is ongoing, in November 2023, it looked favorable that online poker would be legalized in the state.

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