The State Of Online Poker In IndiaJanuary 30, 2014 12:57 pm
The legality of online poker is still a grey area in India, and while the game’s popularity continues to surge on the subcontinent, the Indian government has some fairly strict restrictions when it comes to granting official licenses for online poker rooms meaning only a few gambling operators have so far managed to obtain one.
At present, the specific Indian law that relates to online gambling and poker is the Information Technology Act of 2000, as well as other laws such as the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Public Gambling Act. As a result, an unlicenced poker room may find its access blocked by Internet service providers, even though there is an exemption in Indian law for games of skill. This is because the country’s government has still to decide whether or not online poker games fall into that category and so the atmosphere of uncertainty continues to exist in India.
As the befuddled situation is explained on CJNEWS: “The crux of the legal position seems to be that if an online poker website is following the laws of India while operating in India, it is legal to play online poker in India. However, if the laws of India are breached during such online presence both the cyber law of India and other applicable state laws may be attracted.”
Nevertheless, the regulatory environment for online gambling in India is fast changing, with card games like poker and rummy attracting increasing support from both players and the judicial fraternity, alike. Meanwhile, even though fines are sometimes assigned to online poker sites, individual player are in no danger of prosecution under current India law.
One thing worth being aware of, however, is that in India a poker player is required to declare and pay a 30% tax on his live or online winnings and so players are advised to check with their local tax authorities for specifics on how to file and pay the correct amount of taxes.