India is one of the largest countries in the world, with over 1.3 billion people currently living inside. With that size, it is no surprise to know that gambling inside the country is a very popular pastime, from sports wagering to slot games, and card games like Teen Patti.
However, inside India it is fair to say that the current gambling laws are not clear cut, and do not really give a definitive answer about the legalities of playing games. The best way to describe this is to say that companies are actively targeting the Indian market and players are signing up to play with them, whilst having no consequences of that. At the same time though, there is nothing written that states gambling in the country is allowed.
We take a look at Teen Patti here and if it is legal to play Teen Patti online for those who wish to get involved with one of the most popular games in India.
The Indian Gambling Laws
If you want to know why gambling laws in India are so complex to understand, the reason is simple. Because the country uses a piece of legislation that was drafted by the British government back in 1867. Originally it covered 10 states but was then changed to include them all.
It is still relevant in the country and has fines of 200 rupees or 3 months in prison for those who break it. Amendments have happened over the years, but that hasn’t done too much to stop anyone due to the fact that they are vaguely written.
In terms of the main focus of this law. It is illegal for someone to set up a gambling venue in India, and it is also illegal to visit one, but there is no real mention of gambling, and when there is, this is mentioned as games of skill and games of chance.
Those who bet on sport would argue they are using a skill to make their picks, this is not a game of chance. The definition states:
‘gambling includes any activity or undertaking whose determination is controlled or influenced by chance or accident, or any activity or undertaking which is entered into or undertaken with a consciousness or the risk of winning or losing.’
In terms of Teen Patti specifically. Looking at what is said above, you would have to say it is more likely that Teen Patti is deemed to be a game you cannot play. However, in 1968, the game rummy was declared a skill-based game, and you could not be punished for playing it.
It is fair to say based on that, Teen Patti is a game that definitely falls into a very grey area.
Different Rules Around India
There are some parts of India that have different gambling laws to the rest of the country, which is good to see, because these are either more advanced or clearer. However, it does make the overall situation even more confusing for those who are on the outside looking in. Here is a look at the differences around India.
The gambling act of 1976 in Goa permits people to play Teen Patti and other forms of casino games, so people in this are can play the games on offer. However, those wanting to operate in the area need to have permission from the state, and pay fees to be able to offer products inside the area.
The state of Sikkim created their gambling legislation in 2008 which covered the same rules for electronic and non-electronic gaming. However, that was amended in 2015, which now restricts online Teen Patti to be played in physical premises only, which need a gambling license to run.
In 2015, Nagaland passed a gambling bill and this prohibits all gambling in the state. Some recent legislations have been introduced to supervise online gambling in the state, and the Nagaland Act explicitly provides license regarding online Teen Patti and other skill games such as that.
Gambling in the state of Maharashtra is prohibited completely. However, there is a section in there that leaves the scope to make skill based games such as Teen Patti legal, so this is all based on how you interpret the rules on offer.
The Timing of Gambling Laws
When you look at the gambling laws in India, one of the most confusing elements about them is when they were created. The public gaming act was created in 1867, so it makes sense that there is no mention of online Teen Patti in them.
With this in mind, if you look at the act then operating a site that offers online Teen Patti would be deemed illegal because of the act wording, but when something hasn’t been invented, it is hard to understand how the law affects this.
Then we have the Information Technology Act of 2000, which has since been updated in 2011, and that has elements relating to gambling in it, but nothing concrete. The 2011 changes include regulations to gambling practices by intermediaries, which means phone providers, internet providers, your network, web hosting companies, search engines, online payment methods and much more.
However again, there is no specific mention of Teen Patti.
The way the rules of Teen Patti are set out means you are playing a game with random cards, and because of this, it is a game that features a very high element of luck. These games in India are considered as gambling, and playing them with the hope of winning real cash is not permitted because of this.
Some states have made it legal to play Teen Patti, and this is both online and inside gambling venues. However, this all has to happen within the state boundaries for this to be legal.
Those who are looking for an alternative and want to learn how to play online will find a long list of foreign websites which have a variety of games available for their players and these include Teen Patti. Many specifically focus on the Indian market, so offer the chance to play in local currencies and ultimately, they provide very easy access for Indian Players.