A Guide to iGaming in India and the Nation’s Best Online Casinos
Despite boasting a fast-growing and tech-focused economy, India remains behind the curve when it comes to online gambling. After all, its Parliament has only recently begun discussing a bill to properly regulate its booming iGaming market, which is currently undermined by rogue operators and millions in lost revenue.
In total, more than half of the total online GGY in India is thought to be derived from illegal gambling, and this remains a huge concern for the national government.
Whilst iGaming in India may be trailing behind markets such as Europe and the UK, however, the nation’s history is truly rich in gambling heritage.
In fact, Hindu mythologies dating back to 2000BC reference gambling in one form or another, with games of chance historically considered as a viable solution to conflicts between friends and foe alike.
The 15th century also brought some structure to gambling in India, and at this time this country’s market was one of the most advanced in the world. More specifically, gambling houses were fully legalised nationwide, whilst the King claimed a chunk of the profits earned through a form of rudimentary tax.
It was during this time that many of today’s most popular casino games in India were first invented before sports betting grew to dominate the market during the 18th century.
This coincided with cricket becoming popular in India, as natives began to spend thousands of rupees on their favourite teams and preferred outcomes.
This represented the peak of the gambling industry in India, however, as the British were quick to outlaw gambling houses and practices such as lotteries, sports betting and rummy. This outlook persisted until the turn of the 20th century and beyond, with the modern Indian government restricting gambling activity both on and offline (except in one or two jurisdictions).
Currently, offline gambling is essentially a state subject, with Goa, Daman and Sikkim the only authorities’ home to licensed casinos. The iGaming market is even more complex in India, although natives are currently able to indulge their passion for online gambling through a number of different ways (we’ll have a little more on this later).
Is Online Gambling Legal in India?
As we’ve already said, the iGaming landscape in India is decidedly complex, with illegal online gambling having managed to thrive against a backdrop of regulatory guidance or clarity regarding the legality of virtual betting.
Until recently, the only relevant law was passed at the turn of the century, with the Information Technology Act 2000 prohibiting the publication of information that may “corrupt” individuals online. This was thought to include online gambling content, but this practice was not referenced specifically in the legislation.
Then came the Federal Information Technology Act in 2011, which sought to hold Internet service providers to account for failing to block domestic betting sights.
Despite this, there’s no single act that prohibits Indian nationals from accessing multi-national and accessible betting operators online, enabling natives to wager freely through sites such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, Bet365 and a host of additional platforms.
Of course, the recently proposed Parliamentary bill could further restrict Indian’s access to these brands, although it’s far more likely that the iGaming market will be opened up to allow more for more licenses to be granted in regions such as Sikkim and beyond.
How do we Review the Top Canadian Casinos?
Thanks to India’s complex iGaming laws, a number of reputable and recognisable iGaming brands are accessible to natives.
We’ve reviewed all of these sites to help you make an informed decision, but what are the metrics by which we measure these platforms? Here are some of the most important:
Safety and Security:
Whether you credit your online gambling account using your bank, e-wallet or a credit card, it’s important to trust your chosen service provider. To this end, we’ve reviewed each online casino in India to determine just how secure they are, from their level of SSL encryption to the fairness of the games that they offer.
As the global iGaming space has grown more competitive, so too firms have looked to compete by offering increasingly generous welcome bonuses. We’ll compare and contrast the welcome bonuses offered by iGaming brands in India, helping you to decide which one is best for you.
With a number of the world’s market-leading online casinos accessible in India, there are plenty of ways through which you can credit your account. Including Neteller and Skrill, many of these allow for deposits to be completed instantly, and we’ve listed the full range of options available to players.
Neteller and Skrill can also be used to process your withdrawals, along with other e-wallets and popular credit cards. Once again, most of these options process fast or instant payouts, but our reviews enable you to select an online casino that suits your preferred payment choice.
Around 40% of all Indians have gambled online in the past year, with many of these wagering through a smartphone or tablet. So, we’ve reviewed each platform’s mobile capabilities on your behalf, whether they offer instant play games through a responsive website or a native app.
In order to maintain their reputation, online casinos must offer high-quality and 24-hour customer support. We’ve ensured that all of our listed Indian casinos have had their customer service channels thoroughly vetted, from live chat and emails to a landline telephone number.
Established Game Providers:
Some of the world’s leading online casinos offer more than 1000 games, from established software houses including Microgaming, NetEnt and Evolution Gaming. Our reviews tell you which sites feature which developers, so you can target Indian casinos that feature your favourite games.
Licensing and Regulations:
One of the first things we verify is that our online casinos are fully licensed and accredited, both in their country of origin and the jurisdictions in which they operate. So, you can rest assured that our listed operators and safe and viable to use!
Playing with Real Money – What Currencies can you wager with at India’s Online Casinos
We live in an age where it’s easier than ever to exchange international currencies, so it may be tempting to place bets at an online Indian casino using commonplace currencies such as EUR, GBP or USD.
However, the cost of exchanging your hard-earned cash can be exorbitant, whilst processing fees can also eat into the amount that you have to wager online.
With this in mind, natives may be better serviced by seeking out a platform that accepts Indian Rupees (INR) for both deposits and withdrawals.
There are also a number of viable payment options available at Indian online casinos, including the following:
- Visa Debit
- Bank Transfer
The precise payment options on offer will vary from one casino to another, so check out our reviews to find out more details.
Which Casino Games are Available in India?
Online lotteries are commonplace in India, whilst horse racing and other forms of sports betting also dominate the attentions of gamblers nationwide.
A host of popular online casino games are also accessible to natives, however, thanks largely to the popularity of international iGaming sites. These include:
- Slots: Slots are becoming increasingly popular in India, just as they are in the rest of the iGaming world. As a result, nationals can access a diverse range of popular slots, from low-variance titles like Thunderstruck to jackpot games such as Mega Fortune and Mega Moolah.
- Table Games: Indian casinos are also home to all of your favourite table games, from classic roulette and blackjack iterations to more modern variations. Popular titles include Double Ball Roulette and Single Deck Blackjack, whilst classic European Roulette lets players compete against a minimal house edge.
- Poker: Online and video poker is declining in popularity across the globe, but there are still a handful of iterations available to online players in India. These include staples such as Texas Hold ‘Em and Double Bonus Poker, alongside Joker Poker and the immersive Caribbean Beach.
- Live Casino: Indian platforms also offer access to high-quality live gambling experiences, with providers such as Evolution Gaming producing immersive and authentic titles. These include live iterations of blackjack and roulette, alongside Live Caribbean Stud Poker and the fun game of chance Dream Catcher.
Popular Casinos Accepting Indian Players
The iGaming world is packed full of multi-national brands, with a large number of these now active in India.
We’ve picked out three of the best below, but you should check out the full range of listed sites on our website:
- LeoVegas Casino: We start with the Swedish-based LeoVegas Casino, which has become popular across the globe in a relatively short amount of time. There are currently more than 1000 games accessible through the platform, including 60 immersive live experiences from its elegant Chambre Separee setting.
- Royal Panda: The exceptional Royal Panda casino caters to players from across the globe, including those in the UK, Japan, Germany and India. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that it’s home to a number of thrilling casino games, including everything from slots, roulette and blackjack to pontoon and scratch card titles.
- Betway: Last, but no means least, we come to the popular UK gambling brand Betway. This platform hosts more than 500 carefully selected and high-quality games, including everything from classic fruit games to five-reel video slots. There are also progressive jackpots such as Mega Moolah, so there’s ample chance to win big here!
Playing Online Casino Games with a Real Live Dealer
As we’ve seen with LeoVegas, Indian online casinos tend to offer exceptional live gambling experiences to players.
These games are undoubtedly more immersive and authentic than traditional online casino titles, as they enable you to compete against an interactive dealer rather than the computer.
Online operators tend to create lavish and stylish live casinos too, whilst games such as roulette are authentically paced to replicate a corporeal gambling experience.
Online casinos in India also offer a huge and diverse range of games through their live platforms, including blackjack, roulette and various iterations of poker.
Casino Bonuses and Free Spins
We spoke earlier about the welcome bonuses available at online casinos in India, and these have become increasingly generous over the course of the last few years.
These typically take the form of deposit matches, which may reward players with between 100% and 200% of the amount that they stake up to a certain value. Many of these bonuses are often staggered across your first three deposits too, with Betway offering deposit matches of 100%, 50% and 25% within seven days of opening your account.
Some casinos also offer free spins across selected slot games, whilst others may provide specific bonuses for live casino gameplay and sports betting. Using the aforementioned example of Betway, the operator is currently offering a 100% deposit match on your first live casino deposit of between 1,200 and 15,000 Indian Rupees.
You can review all of our operator’s welcome bonuses here, to see which one is the most suitable.
What’s a Bonus Wagering Requirement?
All welcome bonuses and promotions are subject to so-called wagering requirements, which refer to the amount that you need to bet in order to release your bonus winnings into your main cash balance.
Indian casinos are no exception to this rule, with most eligible operators applying wagering terms of between 30 and 40-times the value of your bonus. So, if you deposit £20 into your account and receive an additional £20 in bonus funds, you’ll need to wager a total of £1,400 against wagering requirements of 35-times before you can withdraw your winnings.
Each game counts differently towards your wagering requirements depending on your chosen casino, and this is an important consideration if you want to withdraw your winnings as quickly as possible.
You can check out this information through our independent reviews, enabling you to partner with an Indian casino that you can trust!
The Casino Market in India
We’ve already spoken about Indian’s and their deep-rooted love of gambling, and this has driven exponential growth in the iGaming market over the course of the last decade.
As a result, it’s thought that up to 80% of all Indians gamble at least once every year, with more than 40% regularly wagering online on slots, cards and table games.
Despite relatively restrictive gambling laws, the Indian gambling industry is currently estimated to be worth a hefty $60 billion U.S. per annum, with half of this being wagered illegally.
Much of this illegal activity takes place online, where a defined lack of regulation makes it easy for rogue firms to operate.
Back in 2010, however, it was estimated that the introduction of more comprehensive regulatory measures will create an iGaming worth upwards of $5 billion, and this is something that may soon be realised if the current parliamentary bill is passed successfully.
Online Casinos Gambling Rules and Regulations in India
Back in 1867, gambling in India was governed by the so-called Public Gambling Act. This created a central authority that regulated gambling houses nationwide and imposed various restrictions on a previously liberal marketplace.
This changed in 1950, however, when List II of the Seventh Schedule in the Indian Constitution granted individual Indian states the autonomy to enact gambling legislation.
This applies to the iGaming market as well and land-based gambling in 2020, and to date, three Indian states have chosen to license betting and wagering activity.
So, whether you want to bet on the state lottery or play any combination of slots, poker and table games online, you’ll need to refer to the individual legislation upheld by each local authority.