Online Poker Sites in India
The online poker market has been steadily expanding over the past couple of years thanks in part to the passage of online gambling laws in selected states. However, the overall scope of online poker in India is limited due to the religious and legal climates surrounding gambling in general.
Learn more about the religious views on gambling, online gambling laws in India and where you can play safe and regulated online poker in India.
Where to Play Online Poker in India
Despite the different legal climates for online poker in India, there are still many places to play poker online. Adda52.com is a fully licensed online poker site in Sikkim. Also, many of the top online poker sites in the world allow players. PokerStars.in is targeted explicitly to Indian players. 888poker and partypoker both accept Indian players.
Sites offering Internet poker in India offer a wide variety of online poker tournaments and poker cash games. You’ll find games in all of the following poker variants on these sites:
- Texas Hold’em (NL and Limit)
- PL Omaha
- Omaha Hi-Lo (Limit, PL, and NL)
- Seven Card Stud and Stud 8 or Better
- Lowball Poker
Also, some sites will offer India specific poker games such as Crazy Pineapple and Lazy Pineapple.
Most analysts agree that the Indian government isn’t presently interested in pursuing those that play online poker, so many of these sites are accessible even in areas where online poker is in a legal gray area.
Finding the Safest Poker Sites in India
If you want to avoid “rigged” sites such as Lock Poker and Bulldog Poker from the past, then you should stick to reputable and licensed online poker sites. All of the top online poker sites in the world are regulated and licensed by prominent international online gambling regulators.
Sites like PokerStars, 888poker, and partypoker have all been fully licensed by primary online regulators. The Gambling Supervision Commission licenses PokerStars in the Isle of Man, one of the oldest regulators in the world.
Both 888poker and partypoker are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). Any site that is licensed by the Gambling Commission is among the most trusted sites in the world, and the UKGC puts online poker sites through the same types of security checks and testing as they do live poker rooms and casinos.
Also, any site you play at should be certified by one or more leading online gambling testing labs. These companies include Gaming Labs, eCogra, and Gaming Associates. These companies test online poker software to ensure that gaming is fair and the company has security measures in place to protect players.
Depositing on Online Poker Sites
One of the top concerns of online poker players is the ability to deposit to and cash out from their online poker accounts. The best poker rooms serving India makes it easy to fund your online poker account.
All sites accept credit card deposits with most taking at least MasterCard and Visa. Some will accept debit cards as well. In addition to credit cards, all sites allow some form of bank deposit whether it is a bank wire, an e-check or a third-party bank payment system.
Skrill and NETELLER are two of the most popular e-wallet payment systems used by players. Players can fund their accounts and use it to deposit to play online poker. Other forms of electronic payments can include PayPal, ecoPayz, and Webmoney.
Deposits are typically instantaneous except for bank deposits. They may take up to 48 hours to process.
Cashing out from your online poker account is easy. Some sites may require you cash out using the same account used to fund your account. Otherwise, your available withdrawal options will be listed in the cashier. Note you will need to verify your identity to cash out, so make sure you do so before cashing out for the first time.
When cashing out, you’ll usually have to wait 24 to 48 hours for processing and afterward, you will receive your money within 48 hours. Bank drafts typically take 5 to 7 banking days.
Religious Views on Gambling in India
India is a profoundly religious nation with nearly 80% of the country practicing Hinduism. About 14% of the nation follow the teachings of Islam. Other prominent religions in India include Christianity and Buddhism.
Gambling is a complex social issue that is addressed at least in part by all religions. The views on gaming, whether online or live, vary from religion to religion. Below are the opinions on gambling of each religion:
Hinduism– Gambling in the Hindu religion is a bit complicated. According to the Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu manuscript, gambling is one of the worse four sins that a person can commit.
However, according to The Life of Hinduism, gambling is permitted during Divali. The belief is that allowing gambling during the festivities teaches people that there’s a proper time and place for gambling, but it must have limitations. Therefore, unless you’re gambling online during Divali, the practice seems to be generally frowned upon.
Islam– There’s little debate about the status of gambling in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad opposed gambling, and the Quran spoke about gambling in Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:90-91, calling it an abomination of Satan’s handiwork.
It further stated that Satan plans to excite hatred and enmity in people and hinder them from the remembrance of God and prayer. Islam believes that gambling is merely a way to take someone else’s money and that it is a dishonorable way to earn money.
Christianity– The New Testament of the Bible does not explicitly speak about gambling. However, it does instruct Christ-followers to seek the good of others rather than the good of themselves. Gambling would be viewed as a way of personal enrichment at the expense of others.
The United Methodist Church has issued an opinion on the matter, stating, “Gambling, as a means of acquiring material gain by chance and at the neighbor’s expense, is a menace to personal character and social morality. Gambling fosters greed and stimulates the fatalistic faith in chance.”
It appears; generally, Christianity frowns upon gambling. However, if the betting is less about taking someone else’s money, such as playing at an online casino, then it may be less frowned upon, especially if the person is gambling responsibly, taking care of personal responsibilities, and exhibiting the values of Christ in their life.
Buddhism– When Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) founded Buddhism in 6thcentury BC, gambling was widely accepted in Nepal. As such, Buddha spent much time defining what acceptable and unacceptable gambling is.
Recreational gambling is perfectly fine under Buddhist philosophy. Habitual gambling isn’t as favorably looked upon, but it is not considered a sin. However, addictive gambling is regarded as a sin.
Also, Buddhism also explicitly forbids gambling to raise money for religious organizations. Other religions such as Christianity turn a blind eye to gambling if it is done to benefit the church.
Online Gambling Laws in India
Gambling laws in India are a bit tricky depending on where you’re located. India allows each state to determine their statutes for gambling. For live betting, the Public Gambling Act of 1867 applies to states that do not have established gambling laws. Under the PGA, it is illegal to run a “public gaming house” or even play at one. The bill also allows for the prosecution of both parties.
For online gambling, the Information Technology Act of 2000 applies. It prohibits any activity that supports betting online. It primarily targets online gambling providers.
However, since each state can regulate online gambling, a few have established laws for iGaming. Below are a few of the Indian states that have at least some form of online gambling laws enacted.
Goa– Gambling is allowed in Goa but only for companies that have obtained a government license. These licenses come with high fees. The country does not have online gambling laws in place, and therefore any online gambling outside of licensed companies would fall under the Information Technology Act of 2000.
Sikkim– Sikkim has some of the most liberal gambling laws in India. In 2005, they passed the Sikkim Regulation of Gambling Act that allows some betting houses. Later in 2009, they passed the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules that will enable Blackjack, Bingo, Punto Banco, Roulette, Poker, Poker Dice, Baccarat, Backgammon, Keno and other games to be spread online.
Any operator wishing to offer online gambling must obtain a license from the state government, and the gaming must be licensed and undergo regular testing for security.
Maharashtra– Maharashtra has the most restrictive of all state gambling regulations. Except for stallion and canine race betting, all forms of live and online gambling are prohibited in the state.
Nagaland – Nagaland passed the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill bill in 2015 which prohibits any form of gambling. The one exception is games that qualify as “games of skill.” Online poker qualifies as a game of skill and some companies such as PokerStars started offering poker in the region following the passage of the law.
Attitudes Towards Online Poker Slowly Changing in India
Overall, attitudes towards gambling and the laws governing the activity are severely antiquated. Luckily, some areas such as Sikkim and Goa have a more progressive view of, and those attitudes are slowly spreading to the general public.
We aren’t going to claim that attitudes towards gambling will change overnight, but the future of online poker in India is looking bright. Granted, during this time players may find challenges playing online poker.
That’s why it is crucial that players play at reputable and regulated online poker sites. This will help to show the governments of India that online poker is a safe activity that can benefit the country as a whole. In time, India will be forced to join the rest of the world in allowing their citizens the freedom to make money by playing online poker.