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Online Gambling Apps in India: How Does It Work? Is It Legal?

Online gambling generally means the use of internet to place bets and earn money on internet.

Updated
Tech and Auto
3 min read
While gambling is illegal in India, laws regarding online betting are absent, or unclear.
i

With the advancement of mobile technology in India, more than 500,000 million people are connected to each other daily. The internet has given Indians access to several online platforms and products that were impossible before, and one of the main industries to gain from this is online gambling.

According to a report by The Week, 40 percent of the internet users gamble in India, and the report suggests that India might overtake United Kingdom as well in the numbers of gamblers per capita. While another research suggests that 80 percent of all adult Indians gamble at least once a year.

But, what is online gambling and why are more and more Indians switching to online gambling games? Here’s everything we know.

Online Gambling Apps in India: How Does It Work? Is It Legal?

  1. 1. What Is Online Gambling?

    Online gambling generally means the use of internet to place bets and earn money. It is similar to playing in a casino but the difference is that it is held in a virtual environment.

    This includes playing of poker, sport games, casino games, etc. Users can place bets through online payment modes such as credit, debit card, internet banking or UPI (most preferred). After placing a bet, wins or losses are paid or collected accordingly.

    Expand
  2. 2. What Are Some of The Most Common Online Gambling Games Played By Indians?

    Card games are very popular with Indians; among them, Teen Patti and Rummy draw a large number of players.

    • Teen Patti: This game provides a realistic experience of a casino with real professional dealers, and glamorous studios.
    • Rummy: Another popular title played by Indians is rummy where players can choose fun characters, play online with real players, and win or lose depending on their skills and bet.

    Few other famous games played by Indians are Blackjack, Roulette, Barract, Indian Flush and Andar Bahar.

    Expand
  3. 3. Why are These Games Not Available on Google Play Store?

    Tech giant Google in its new policy has excluded ‘India’ in the list of countries where gambling apps are allowed.

    Google has permitted countries such as United States, Japan, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Romania, Finland, Denmark, and Colombia to download gambling apps from its servers.

    The reason for this is reportedly the state governments who have been issuing directives to ban such apps outright. For instance, Paytm and Paytm first games were also recently blocked stating that they violated Google’s terms of services. Meanwhile, Appstore’s interface doesn’t allow the installation of several gambling apps on its platform.

    Expand
  4. 4. Online Gaming vs Online Gambling

    There is a very thin line between online gaming and online gambling. Multiplayer gaming is a fun and leisure activity which is a way to spend time (virtually) with your loved ones. However, gambling is betting money against each other and involves a monetary transaction between players.

    Most of the online games are free and do not require any money to play whereas online gambling requires users to bet (pay) first and then play the game.

    Online gaming requires knowledge and skills to play. The gameplay involves coming up with solution which are posed by developers of the game. Whereas gambling mostly relies on luck and probability.

    Expand
  5. 5. Is Online Gambling Legal in India?

    Gambling laws in India are confusing. This is because of the unclear distinction between ‘games of skills’ and ‘games of chance’.

    According to Indian laws, betting on games of chance is illegal whereas betting on games of skill is legal. It’s tricky to determine whether a game falls under a chance or skill categories.

    The ruling by Supreme Court holds that rummy cannot be classified as a game of chance like three-card games such as flush and brag. This is because rummy needs players to have a certain level of skill particularly when it comes to memorisation, reports The Citizen. Therefore, any game that requires a gamer to have a particular skill set is legal.

    However, gambling apps remain at the mercy of payment platforms and state governments which can block a certain app stating ‘legislative ambiguity’.

    Expand
  6. 6. Why Are State Governments Blocking Gambling Apps?

    Several state governments including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana ,Tamil Nadu and Punjab governments have imposed bans on online gambling apps.

    Andhra state government banned several online gambling apps stating that several youngsters died by suicide after they were pushed into ‘debts’ by gambling online.

    Andhra Pradesh Home Minister M Suchrita said that online gambling could induce criminal behaviour in society and increase the number of organised crimes like money laundering and fraud. “Many internet websites which claim to provide gambling services are not authentic and there are no regulatory measures to check the legitimacy of these sites,” she added.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What Is Online Gambling?

Online gambling generally means the use of internet to place bets and earn money. It is similar to playing in a casino but the difference is that it is held in a virtual environment.

This includes playing of poker, sport games, casino games, etc. Users can place bets through online payment modes such as credit, debit card, internet banking or UPI (most preferred). After placing a bet, wins or losses are paid or collected accordingly.

What Are Some of The Most Common Online Gambling Games Played By Indians?

Card games are very popular with Indians; among them, Teen Patti and Rummy draw a large number of players.

  • Teen Patti: This game provides a realistic experience of a casino with real professional dealers, and glamorous studios.
  • Rummy: Another popular title played by Indians is rummy where players can choose fun characters, play online with real players, and win or lose depending on their skills and bet.

Few other famous games played by Indians are Blackjack, Roulette, Barract, Indian Flush and Andar Bahar.

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Why are These Games Not Available on Google Play Store?

Tech giant Google in its new policy has excluded ‘India’ in the list of countries where gambling apps are allowed.

Google has permitted countries such as United States, Japan, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Romania, Finland, Denmark, and Colombia to download gambling apps from its servers.

The reason for this is reportedly the state governments who have been issuing directives to ban such apps outright. For instance, Paytm and Paytm first games were also recently blocked stating that they violated Google’s terms of services. Meanwhile, Appstore’s interface doesn’t allow the installation of several gambling apps on its platform.

ADVERTISEMENT

Online Gaming vs Online Gambling

There is a very thin line between online gaming and online gambling. Multiplayer gaming is a fun and leisure activity which is a way to spend time (virtually) with your loved ones. However, gambling is betting money against each other and involves a monetary transaction between players.

Most of the online games are free and do not require any money to play whereas online gambling requires users to bet (pay) first and then play the game.

Online gaming requires knowledge and skills to play. The gameplay involves coming up with solution which are posed by developers of the game. Whereas gambling mostly relies on luck and probability.

ADVERTISEMENT

Is Online Gambling Legal in India?

Gambling laws in India are confusing. This is because of the unclear distinction between ‘games of skills’ and ‘games of chance’.

According to Indian laws, betting on games of chance is illegal whereas betting on games of skill is legal. It’s tricky to determine whether a game falls under a chance or skill categories.

The ruling by Supreme Court holds that rummy cannot be classified as a game of chance like three-card games such as flush and brag. This is because rummy needs players to have a certain level of skill particularly when it comes to memorisation, reports The Citizen. Therefore, any game that requires a gamer to have a particular skill set is legal.

However, gambling apps remain at the mercy of payment platforms and state governments which can block a certain app stating ‘legislative ambiguity’.

ADVERTISEMENT

Why Are State Governments Blocking Gambling Apps?

Several state governments including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana ,Tamil Nadu and Punjab governments have imposed bans on online gambling apps.

Andhra state government banned several online gambling apps stating that several youngsters died by suicide after they were pushed into ‘debts’ by gambling online.

Andhra Pradesh Home Minister M Suchrita said that online gambling could induce criminal behaviour in society and increase the number of organised crimes like money laundering and fraud. “Many internet websites which claim to provide gambling services are not authentic and there are no regulatory measures to check the legitimacy of these sites,” she added.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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