The Himalayan state of Sikkim is one of the most liberal in the whole of India when it comes to gambling legislation. Discover all there is to know about Sikkim gambling laws, including specific legislation surrounding subsectors such as sports betting, lotteries and casino gaming.
How to Play Casino from Sikkim
If you’re a fan of casino slots and table games, it’s possible to enjoy them both offline and online within the state borders of Sikkim. In fact, its casino industry is one of the most vibrant in the entire country. That’s due largely to the fact that legislation permits land-based casinos to operate within five-star hotel resorts.
Since becoming the 22nd state of India, Sikkim has worked hard to improve the region’s appeal to tourists. Although it’s an area of distinct natural beauty, its casino scene is beginning to turbocharge the Sikkim economy. The state’s coffers are benefitting from increased revenues from citizens playing at their nearest land-based casino resort, while the addition of online casinos – and online lottery games – has also helped pump money back into the state.
Is Gambling Legal in Sikkim?
Yes, gambling is fully legalised in the state of Sikkim. There are four crucial pieces of legislation that have enabled Sikkim gambling laws to come to fruition.
The Sikkim Casino Games (Control and Tax Rules) 2002 Act permitted the Sikkim government to offer licenses to reputable entrepreneurs and operators willing to open and run land-based casinos within the state of Sikkim. This was a watershed moment for Sikkim and its citizens, with brick-and-mortar casino gaming becoming more of a reality than ever before.
Prior to this, the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976, enabled five-star resorts to offer slot machines and table games on board offshore vessels. It had always been a vision of the Sikkim government to bring casino in Sikkim onshore and in doing so, this transformed Sikkim as a leisure and entertainment resort overnight.
Sikkim Gambling Laws & Legislation
The Sikkim Regulation of Gambling (Amendment) Act, 2005, built on the Sikkim Casino Games Act of 2002. It handed the Sikkim government the authority to allow gambling on specific days and to legalise reputable casinos (gambling houses) via the grant of license.
However, it’s the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 that we’re most excited about, as it’s enabled online casino gaming in the state since July 2009. Original acts had limited casino gaming to just poker and other conventional table games like blackjack, pontoon and baccarat. However, this act threw open the doors to widespread casino gaming of all types, including video slots.
One of the biggest talking points about the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 is the government’s approach to unlicensed casino gaming. Anyone caught playing at an unlicensed gaming house – including casino gaming among groups of friends or strangers – could be hit with a hefty fine or, worse still, a prison sentence. It’s all designed to reinforce the importance of licensed and legitimised casino gaming, ensuring games are fair and transparent.
Although licensed casinos are only permitted to operate within the state borders of Sikkim, this legislation does not prevent the citizens and tourists of Sikkim from playing online at offshore licensed online casino sites.
Casino in Sikkim
The city of Gangtok is home to some of the most popular land-based casinos in Sikkim. However, these are licensed only to serve tourists rather than the residents of Gangtok. Guests of the five-star hotel complexes such as the Deltin Denzong can play to their hearts’ content.
The Deltin Denzong is an impressive resort, given that it sits 6,000 feet above sea level. The backdrop of the accommodation is the frozen tip of Mount Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak on the planet. Here, a host of casino card games are operated, including Indian favourites like Teen Patti.
An alternative to classic casino games like poker and blackjack, lottery games have become the bread and butter of Sikkim’s gambling economy. As part of the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008, online lottery tickets and games were permitted, alongside the launch of a local state-backed lottery – one of 13 to operate throughout India.
The state lottery in Sikkim is known as the Sikkim State Lottery Sambad. Citizens across the state pay a modest fee to enter the Dear Labhlaxmi Weekly in the hope of landing the jackpot. They are also free to buy online lottery tickets to enter even bigger lotteries with a prize pool in the region of hundreds of crores.
Sports Betting in Sikkim
The amendment to the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008 a year later, brought about a major shift for would-be sports bettors in Sikkim. The Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules, 2009 stated that online sports betting was now permitted, subject to sportsbook operators obtaining a legitimate license from the State Government of Sikkim.
As a matter of fact, Sikkim remains only the second Indian state to allow online sports betting via sportsbooks whose servers are located within the state. The state followed the precedent set by the Union Territory of Diu, Goa and Daman.
Horse racing betting falls under the same rules as the rest of sports betting in Sikkim. It’s legal to submit wagers on horse races through digital betting machines situated within casino resorts. Although the state has no dedicated racetracks, which means all wagers are placed on events outside of Sikkim.
Offshore online sportsbooks remain open to residents of Sikkim too, which is helpful if you don’t want to enter a land-based casino to place your bets.
Ultimately, Sikkim gambling laws are some of the most open you will find in India. Playing at a casino in Sikkim is a realistic prospect for tourists, even if locals remain prohibited from entering such establishments.