Online Casinos: Their Legalities, Future, and Scope in India
People engage in gambling everywhere in the world. There have been early signs of gambling activities since the very beginning of the history of mankind when people have been playing various types of lottery games. Although gambling connects people globally, it is sometimes easy to forget how each continent or country may have their own traditions and history regarding gambling activities.
When it comes to the gambling industry, India has been in the spotlight. More and more gambling companies outside India are opening up their own online casinos targeted towards the Indian market. Although the sudden rapid growth may seem radical, most operators have done calculations and market research to find out just how many possibilities India has regarding the industry.
At the same time, gambling within the country is slowly becoming more challenging with new laws and regulations as well as a growing public interest to work against problem gambling. The law has always been strict but outdated, leaving many loopholes behind. Although laws exist, the lack of regulations on a global scale and their low applicability on global gambling operators have made the online casino industry boom.
Laws and regulations are becoming stricter than ever
It is no secret that unlicensed gambling happens within India. This is especially true when it comes to sports betting in cricket. Regulations related to gambling are complex and outdated. Oftentimes the Public Gambling Act from 1867 is the only piece of legislation that is referred to when discussing the legal environment of gambling in India. Needless to say, this piece of legislation does not address modern-day questions, such as online gambling, at all. However, what is known is that the law divides games into two categories: games of skill and games of chance. The latter receives more strict opinions and views, whereas games of skill have been considered as a less harmful form of gambling.
However, in late October, there was news about Andhra Pradesh, a state in Southern India, banning games of skill. This includes games like rummy, which has been considered a game of skill for years. Due to the change of law within the state, the domestic operators on games of skill eventually had to shut down in the region, hurting the industry as well as people working in it in a severe manner.
Land-based casinos serve mainly tourists
Although laws and regulations exist, it does not mean that India does not operate any land-based casinos. As mentioned in the previous part, gambling is considered to be a state-level issue. What this means is that even though the Public Gambling Act from 1867 applies to the whole country, in practice, states are bound to modify their regulations to either restrict gambling activities even more or allow them as widely as possible. The latter is seen in three states. If you are to look for land-based casinos in India, then you should head either to Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. Out of these three, Goa definitely takes the cake on being the gambling state of India.
But while it seems that legal gambling is not that challenging within the country, think again. Land-based casinos in Goa are located there for a reason. As Goa is a major global tourist hub, it aims to lure international tourists to its land-based casinos as well as offshore casinos operating from nice yachts and boats. For many tourists, visiting a casino while spending a relaxing vacation in Goa is a must. Most of these casinos are owned by Deltin Group, which also owns luxury accommodation properties or works in cooperation with them.
Needless to say, the deals at these casinos are mainly planned for travelers coming around the world. While Goa has been the forerunner of land-based casinos in India, other states are slowly following the suit. Sikkim offers casino games at a few locations, and Daman is predicted to be the next Sikkim.
Online casinos attracting Indian players by local games and offers
While online gambling operators are following the changing gambling laws and regulations in India and its states, overall, the industry is growing. Depending on the regulations, some operators may have to consider closing down or limiting some players from certain regions. This, however, is not likely to become an issue in the near future.
Online casinos have several advantages that have made them extremely popular among Indian players. First of all, most of them are operated by industry professionals who have opened several online casinos in both existing and new markets. What this means is that their knowledge of how to enter a market is top-notch. What is more, game providers have seen the rise of the Indian market and responded to it as they should. Now almost all online casinos targeting Indian players have at least Andar Bahar and Teen Patti card games at the live casino. These card games are loved by most Indians and known by everyone.
Local card games are one thing, but having that with great offers is even better. With many online casinos aiming for more customers from India, they are tweaking their offers and promotions to offer a bit more than their competitors. Needless to say, the position is attractive from the perspective of a player as there are countless options, from bonuses to free spins to choose from.
Where is India heading in regards to gambling?
While no one truly knows the answer to this question, some predictions can be made. The laws and regulations are likely to get stricter within the country in case other states choose to follow Andhra Pradesh´s suit. The three casino states are likely to stay as gambling is robustly linked to tourism in those states. Online casinos are known to succeed unless a major change in legislation happens since currently, the laws and their implementation towards online gambling operators abroad has been zero to none.