Legality Of Poker In India

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legality of poker in india

While the entire world is rapidly embracing online card games and has a liberal outlook, some Indians are still suspicious about playing at online casino sites. That may be partly because Indian laws are archaic in this matter. There are no set rules mentioned in the Constitution about online gambling and betting.

While some states have formed their set of rules, the country as a whole, is yet to take a stand. So, let us discuss here the question of “Is poker legal in India?” Let us also glance through some examples of esteemed courthouses in India decreed that poker and other games that require substantial skill can be considered legal.


Online Poker India: Legal Or Not?


Poker requires a high level of intellect and strategic moves to win. This fact has approval by chess grandmasters, economists, lawyers, and statisticians.

As per the Indian Constitution, gambling falls under the respective state’s subject and in any state that does not have particular gambling laws, the central act will apply. The states of Sikkim, Goa, and Nagaland give poker the status of being legal since it is a game of skill.

There are no dedicated gambling laws specific to online casino websites and also no techno-legal framework regarding online betting. But some state legislations have formulated alternative arrangements with diverse methodologies.

On the topic of is poker legal in India, let us have a look the verdicts given by several high courts in the country:

  1. In 1996, a three-judge bench at the Supreme Court gave a verdict that horse racing is not gambling, but a sport that requires skill. According to this ruling, any game that involves a substantial level of skill, such as poker is legal in India.
  2. In 2013, the Karnataka High Court ruled that skill games like poker can be permitted to play at a recreational club and that the venue does not need a license for the same.
  3. In 2015, the Calcutta High Court ruled that the police and state authorities cannot interfere when poker games are being played in clubs.
  4. In 2019, the Jalpaiguri Bench at the Calcutta High Court upheld the previous judgement of the honourable court as skill games cannot be considered gambling.
  5. In 2019, the Supreme Court reiterated the ruling of the Bombay High Court to settle the issue of the legality of fantasy gaming in India. Both the courts upheld the view that any game that needs skills to win is legal in India.

With the applicability of the rulings of the state high courts and the highest law authority, the Supreme Court of India, the country has recognizing poker as a skill game. According to the criteria in these rulings, online poker in India is legal.

   Suggested Read – Online Poker Tornaments In India


FAQs On Is Poker Legal In India

Is Money Won In Casino Taxable In India?


Cash prizes worth more than INR 10,000 that you win on online casino sites are taxable under the Income Tax Act, Section 115BB. The government levies a 30% tax rate on lottery, crossword, card games, races, and casino winnings. With the cess on education, it becomes around 30.90%. Offshore casinos will withhold 30% tax of your earnings while making payments.

Is Gambling Legal In India?

Offline gambling and betting in India are illegal. However, there are no set rules for online gambling sites. In fact, the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting is encouraged and advertised by the media openly. Some websites have offshore agencies, while some operate from India.

Is Poker Legal In India?

Offline gambling in India is only legal in certain states like Goa, Sikkim and Nagaland. The Supreme Court of India ruling states that games of skills are legal, as opposed to games of chance. Since most online casino websites have many skill-based games on their offerings, you can play poker, which is a game of skill, legally.


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