The legality of gaming in India is related to the Public Gambling Act from 1867. The majority of the country abides by this, however as the Constitution allows states to legislate on betting and gambling if they wish, some states have legislation to override this document. Games of skill are exempt from this and do not come under the term of gambling.
In 1996 the Supreme Court of India gave the following verdict on what constitutes a game of skill:
“A competition which substantially depends on skill is not gaming. Gaming is the act or practice of gambling on a game of chance. It is staking on chance where chance is the controlling factor. Gaming in two Acts would, therefore, mean wagering or betting on games of chance.”
The PGA makes reference to both a ‘game of chance’ and a ‘game of skill’ and exempts a ‘game of skill’ from the penalties imposed for gambling. Most states within India have laws that agree with this document and allow games where the outcome is dependent on a large amount of skill as opposed to luck.
It is therefore clear that the laws in India differ between games of skill and games of chance and forbid participation in games of chance for real stakes whilst allowing games of skill to be played.
The West Bengal Gambling and Prize Competition Act from 1957 mentions bridge, poker and rummy from being thought of as games of chance and sees them as games of skill.
It can therefore be concluded that these games can be played legally in the majority of states within India unless it is expressly mentioned in that states specific laws.
The states that expressly forbid the playing of games of skill for money at the present time, are: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Sikkim, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Odisha.
If any person living or playing from these states is found to be playing any game of skill for real money – both online or offline – that person will be solely responsible for their actions. IndiaPlays takes relevant action to stop players opening an account and playing when physically located in these states and reserve the right to block and/or terminate any account, without prior notice, when it is believed that a person is located in these states. We also reserve the right to remove any funds and winnings from such an account. IndiaPlays and its partners will not be held liable for breach of the state laws by any person.