Gambling in India
Gambling venues in India are not as popular as casinos of gambling zone Macau and Las Vegas, for example. Nevertheless, the country is demonstrating excellent growth rates of the gambling industry. Gambling in India is currently occupying 9th place in the world in terms of income. Since the structure of the country includes 29 states and 7 union territories, different regions have different regulations governing the work of gambling institutions and sites. Today, a formal ban on most types of gambling, including virtual, is not relevant only for Goa, Daman and Sikkim. According to the latest changes in legislation, the list of Indian states that legalised gambling will steadily expand.
An introduction to gambling laws in India
For a long time, all regions without exception obeyed the laws governing gambling in India adopted back in 1867. According to this normative act, the vast majority of today’s popular games of chance were strictly prohibited. According to this law, not only organising the work of gambling venues was forbidden but also visiting them. Violation of the ban for gambling in India provided a punishment – large fine and arrest for up to 3 months.
As the world practice shows, strict restrictions on the conducting and participate in gambling, in most cases, leads to a spread of illegal business. This is what influenced the mitigating of gambling legislation in recent years. It is well known that gambling is significant for tourist regions. For India, it is, first and foremost, the state of Goa. In connection with this, restrictions for this region had been removed and in 1999, the first casino was opened here. Now the state brings to the state budget of about $ 20 million profit from gambling annually.
In 2009, the Sikkim state government passed a law according to which gambling was legalised. This also affected online casinos. In the region, you can play blackjack, roulette, keno, baccarat, bingo, poker and other games. The activities of gambling venues in Sikkim must be necessarily licensed. As for the state of Daman, gambling was legalised here relatively recently in 2014. The largest gaming zone of the region is located on the territory of integrated resort Deltin.
According to the laws of India, visiting casinos is allowed only to players who have reached legal age for gambling in India – 21 years of age. There are certain restrictions for local people. For example, playing cash games is allowed only tourists in Goa. Among the terrestrial casinos of India, the following casinos are very popular:
- Casino Mahjong at Mayfair Spa Resort;
- Casino Palms at La Calypso Goa;
- Casino Sikkim at Hotel Royal Plaza;
- Deltin Royale Casino;
- Goa Nugget Casino;
- Denzong Regency.
The local regulator is National Indian Gaming Commission. It provides gambling licenses in India and monitors the work of gambling establishments and the compliance with Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
Virtual casinos in India
The authorities have not yet come to a unanimous decision on the legalisation of online gambling in India. In this case, the current regulation is made with a lot of ambiguities, which allows finding “loopholes” in the law and organising virtual gambling without violations. Now India has more than 280 gambling sites including:
- more than 170 online casinos;
- about 20 poker sites;
- at least 33 sites for betting on sports
Indian gambling fans can also find websites dedicated to lotteries, bingo and mobile platforms of virtual casinos. Locating a gambling resource in the offshore zone, the owners are able to circumvent the laws of India. Any direct financial transactions between players and foreign gambling sites are banned, that’s why players often have to show uncommon ingenuity. In 2011, the government passed a law allowing providers to block gambling webresources. As practice shows, circumventing the block is not a difficult task even for not the most experienced users.
Among the credible online casinos popular among the Indian players, there are:
- Omni Slots;
- Casino Ventura;
- Cherry Casino;
- Royal Panda;
- Ikibu Casino;
- PlayGrand Casino.
Despite the fact that in most states of India virtual casinos are illegal, the use of free emulators of slot machines is not a violation. Our site contains a rich selection of licensed slots in demo versions. Games can be blocked if the provider considers they have elements of gambling entertainment. In addition, telecommunications providers can restrict access to emulator devices at its own discretion without giving any reason.
India and slot machines
Slot machines are forbidden in all Indian states except Goa, Sikkim and Daman. At the same time, exactly this kind of gambling is the most popular among the locals competing only with poker. Land and floating casinos in India offer over 1,600 different legal gambling games. The country does not have own developers of video slots, but foreign companies do not cease to be inspired by an Indian flavour, releasing more and more new slot machines that are dedicated to that country. Here are some of them:
- Jewels of India from High 5;
- Riches of India from Novomatic;
- Pearls of India from Play’n Go;
- Secrets of India from Merkur Gaming;
- Indian Myth from Spadegaming;
- Golden India from Gamesos;
- Maharaja Riches from Skillonnet
Slots about India combine elegant vivid design and presence of interesting bonus features. For example, a popular slot Riches of India from the Austrian manufacturer Novomatic provides not only standard reel rotations but bonus spins which are opened when three or more scatters in the form of a basket drop on the reels. Winnings of users, who have chosen this machine, can reach the size of a bet multiplied 500 000 times.
Slot machine Pearls of India is another development that deserves some attention. Experts from the company Play’n Go have endowed their creation not only 10 free spins activated by scatter symbol in the form of pearls. The slot is ready to please the most successful players with the bonus round during which they can receive the winnings multiplier x250.
The Secrets of India game also has a function of free spins, during which you can win up to 6000 credits. Jewels of India slot allows winning a multiplier of up to 2500 during free spins. The slot machine Golden India from Gamesos has a function of the bonus round, triggered by 3 symbols of an Indian princess. During the bonus game, the user can search for additional payments under golden bowls. The slot machine Maharaja Riches from Skillonnet company also has a bonus game, which is available after the appearance of a combination of 3 pictures of jewellery.
The history of gambling in India
The first mention of gambling in Indian history date back to 2500 BC. First of all, we are talking about dice games. There is a hypothesis, according to which the name and the basic principles of this gambling game were founded thanks to Indian players. Initially, the dice were used for divination and magic rituals. It was astragalus – parts of the articular tissues of animals. Gaming devices were also made of nuts, wood and other materials at hand.
In the ancient history of gambling in India, dice game was carried out on several principles. Players could compete in accuracy, throwing them in the hole or on the field of horizontal targets. The closest to a modern gambling entertainment was a game, the essence of which was guessing the result of the roll. Indians competed trying to predict whether the winning number would be odd or even. Players gave the bones sacred significance. Before the throw, they talked to them, trying to appease spirits allegedly dwelling there.
The collection of ancient Indian epic “Mahabharata” contains an entire chapter dedicated to this entertainment. It tells the story of the battle of gods, one of whom loses the kingdom playing dice. In addition, the legend of King Nala is devoted to the story when the main character plays with a demon dice that have been bewitched by an evil spirit of Kali. Astragalus bones were used for divination by stringing together on a thread and rotating. This ritual is known as Ramallah.
In ancient India, there were analogues of modern totalisators. There is evidence that even before our era, among the inhabitants of the Indian regions, chariot races enjoyed the huge popularity. Players were so reckless that they could put on one race a whole herd of cattle. Cockfights had not less success – the first mention of that dates back to 2000 BC. Some archaeological finds show that the ancient Indian residents used the analogy of modern playing cards and dominoes.
One of the heyday of gambling culture in India belongs to the XV century. By that time, it managed to achieve the development indicators that allowed a full operation of gambling venues. The gambling sphere was controlled by the king himself and the state treasury received considerable income from gambling.
In the XIX century, during the colonisation of India by the British, there were hard times for gambling. Most varieties of gambling entertainment had been banned by the British conquerors. Regaining independence in 1947 hadn’t brought significant changes in the regulation of gaming. Fans of gambling had to resort to various tricks to satisfy the thirst for thrill and often, these attempts were successful.
An excellent example is the game Satta or Matka – it is called differently in some regions. This game originated in the 60s of the XX century. During this period, there was a boom of the Indian cotton industry. The game is a unique symbiosis of lottery and exchange forecasts. Its essence was that the players were trying to predict the price of the raw material at the opening and closing of the New York Cotton Exchange.
Initially, players bet on made-up goods and game results were determined by pulling from a clay pot (it was called matka – and this gave the game its name). The Matka remains popular in India to this day, but in most states, it is played in secret. The original invention of the Indian players is appreciated far beyond the borders of the state, analogues of this entertainment began to appear in other countries.
In 2008, India was talked about throughout all the gambling world once again. A player Vivek Rajkumar won the poker tournament World Poker Tour Borgata and received the prize of 1.4 million dollars. This is not the only notable achievement of the player. In total, Rajkumar managed to win over $ 3.5 million.
While the government of India did not reciprocate gambling by gradually legalising gambling in different states, players had to go to the neighbouring regions with more loyal legislation. Indians were frequent guests at casinos of Macau, Singapore and Kathmandu. It is noteworthy that the partial legalisation of gambling in India has slightly reduced the profit of gambling venues in bordering states.
Prospects of gambling business development in India
We can already say with certainty that gambling geography in India will expand in the near future. Currently, the initiative on the legalisation of gambling in the state of Maharashtra is discussed. This is one of the most developed regions of the country. This is where the world-famous Bollywood regularly produces films with a special Indian flavour.
The idea of legalising gambling in Maharashtra belongs to a lawyer by the name of Jay Sayat. He refers to the normative act adopted in 1976, according to which gambling is legal in this Indian state. This provision has not entered into full force but, judging by the latest trends, Maharashtra most likely will join the list of regions to temper justice with mercy in relation to the gaming industry. According to industry analysts, the legalisation of gambling in the state will increase the total revenue from gambling in India to 60 billion per year. A gaming zone is planned to be located in the area of Matheran.
Two other states that might have all chances to legalise gambling are Karnataka and Kerala. An entrepreneur Shiva Prakash Bobby, who currently resides in the United States, is planning a major investment in the creation of integrated gaming zone on Bhavani Island. The Sentosa Island in Singapore is planned to be used as an example, which has already joined the ranks of the most attractive and dynamic regions in the field of gambling. It is believed that the creation of new gambling zones would lead to several benefits:
- suring the flow of tourists;
- obtaining additional revenue from taxes on gambling;
- decreasing the number of clandestine gambling venues;
- the creation of several thousand new jobs.
The latter factor is particularly of interest to the authorities. Gambling in India has a positive impact on the dynamics of the labour market. Gambling clubs in India officially provide about 700 000 people with jobs annually, they receive a salary of more than $ 30 billion. Given the urgency of the problem of unemployment in India, further enhancing the loyalty to the laws in relation to the gambling business would improve indicators on the number of the employed population.
Due to the fact that the ban on foreign investment in Indian gambling has been was lifted in recent time, the country is causing more and more intense interest from international casino operators. It is known that a number of large companies based in Las Vegas already has plans for the development of the Indian regions.
According to forecasts, the improvement of the situation in the field of virtual gambling regulation also will not take long. As shown by independent research, more than 40% of the Indian players visit online casinos, play for free and not for money. Thus, we don’t really have to talk about the real risks and negative consequences of problem gambling in India.