Safe & Secure Gambling Sites Accepting Indian Players 2018 – Play Real Money Online Casino Games & Bet in Rupees
I am Sai Avvari a professional gambler from Tamil Nadu now living in Mumbai. This article is a detailed guide to internet gambling in India. This is a large topic with a lot to cover so I encourage you to use the headers to find the information you are looking for.
I start by covering how popular internet betting is followed by the legal aspects. I then cover the dynamics of using foreign sites and the banking methods. The conclusion covers gambling by niche. This has India specific gambling site recommendations for cricket and other sports betting, casinos and poker. For the benefit of experienced gamblers, note that the sites below are the ones most popular to use from our country.
If new to online betting, bookmark this page before continuing. The banking methods for using sites from India are not all intuitive. You might want to later come back to this page to view that section. Introduction out of the way, I now get started.
Online Betting is Popular and Safe
Online betting is very popular in our country. www.bet365.com is famous for sports betting, casino, poker, and bingo offered from the same website in many languages and currencies including Indian rupee (INR). With 126 million monthly unique visits, and an Alexa.com estimate that 5.3% of their visits come from here, there are about 6.7 million people located in India that visit their website each month. This is only one of the websites we can use to gamble online.
Despite most gambling being illegal in India, the traffic I discussed is not a surprise. We are a nation that loves to gamble. Each day over a hundred Rs. crore rupees are wagered on Kalyan Matka and Mumbai Main. There are Paplu (rummy) clubs in most cities and games of Flush (teen patti/flash) are always going on. There is Andar Bahar on the foot-bars, dice mats, horse racing, cricket bookies and so much more. Betting online is just as popular. It is also safer with far less legal risk.
India Gambling Law
The Constitution of India grants states the right to make their own gambling laws. Goa and Sikkim are two states that have legalised physical casino gambling at locations they have licensed. Many states also have legal lotteries, most of which can be bet online. Outside specific legalisation from the state, all other forms of gambling fall under The Public Gambling Act, 1867 from the Central Government.
The Public Gambling Act linked above exempts skill-based gambling. Courts have ruled that both rummy and horse race betting is predominately skill. Those are legal across India. All other forms of gambling are illegal. A first offense is punishable by a tiny Rs. 100 fine and/or up to one month in prison. Prison time is however extremely rare and the good news is online gambling with foreign sites has never really been targeted at the player level.
For Online Gambling Law Enforcement Lacks Jurisdiction
Indian law enforcement has no jurisdiction over foreign gambling sites. Bet365 is owned by the same company that owns the English Premier League franchise Stoke City, a football club valued at close to Rs. one-thousand crore. In business since 1974, they started as a chain of betting shops located in the UK called Provincial Racing. Today, operating online, they have an annual turnover exceeding six-thousand crore rupee. They have over two-thousand employees and are government licensed in UK, Australia, Italy, Spain, Denmark, and Gibraltar. Betting is legal in all of those countries.
The process for gambling online from India involves using the internet to move money from India to the gambling site located abroad. Though it is all digital, and we have rather easy access to that money throughout the process, technically we have moved it to another country. We then use our smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop, to bet cricket or other sports, or to play casino, bingo or poker. Those wagers are regulated by a gambling commission of the same foreign country our money has been moved to where gambling is legal. At any time we can withdrawal. In the event of any problems, there are regulatory bodies to complain to, court systems, press that can be contacted and so much more. No one outside India cares we are in India placing bets. The companies we are using are legal and licensed elsewhere.
The jurisdiction issue creates a dilemma for our authorities. The sites being used to bet are major companies paying tax in countries we are mostly allied with who don’t view gambling the same way we do. It is legal in those countries. This is without even discussing fair trade issues. The Central Government, therefore, has never encouraged any type of aggressive action against a player using such foreign sites. Therefore from a legal aspect, yes technically illegal, but popular and the laws are barely enforced at the user level.
Banking Options in India
All online gambling sites you can join via the web operate on a post-up basis. You must have money in your gambling account to place a bet. For a casino, this is straightforward. You make a bet. If it wins money it is added to your account. If you lose it is deducted. For sports, it is slightly different. If your balance is Rs. 2,400 and you bet Rs. 400 on Mumbai Indians to win tonight’s IPL cricket match, immediately your balance is Rs. 2,000. If later on your bet wins, that Rs. 400 you staked is added back to your account and the winnings from that wager are added too.
In recap: you deposit to your account and make bets. Your balance grows when you win, and shrinks when you lose. At any time you can cash out all or part of your account balance. Thus we need banking options for both making deposits and getting paid our cashouts. While there are several methods available, unfortunately very few of them are straightforward.
Although I just covered how India law enforcement has no jurisdiction over foreign gambling sites, they do have jurisdiction over some of the parties involved in the payment process. The Central Government has mandated India banks block debit and credit card transactions if they suspect they are gambling related. Back four or five years ago gambling sites and e-wallets offered us MasterCard branded debit cards that could be used to take money off gambling sites. Then, Reserve Bank of India sent a cease and desist to MasterCard. That method is still available in other countries but that is no longer so for us in India. Thus the following sections are needed to explain banking options we can still use.
Using Credit or Debit Card in India
Warning: you can only use credit and debit cards that are issued in your own name at gambling sites. It is not allowed to use a spouse, family member or friend’s card, even if have permission and last names are the same. The card must be in your own name, period – no exceptions.. Note: cards without a name on them are fine to use, as long as they are your own card issued to you personally.
MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, and Visa Electron cards, whether credit or debit, are the fastest way to deposit from India to an online gambling site. Note that your card must be approved for foreign transactions. Not all cards are. Also, any card from India that is approved for foreign transactions will only work if you complete the 3D secure code (Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode) with each transaction.
If not enrolled for 3D secure code verification, the first time you attempt to complete a transaction, instructions should appear on how to enroll with your card issuing bank. This varies for every card. Some can be done entirely online through their website or your online banking. Some you have to call a number and some you have to send a text. Just make sure you are enrolled or enroll when prompted to.
An issue is not all gambling sites offer 3D-secure code verification on transactions. If it never gets to that process your card will be declined, as all Indian cards require 3D Secure Code authentication for a foreign purchase to be approved. Also, when it does appear, you’ll sometimes see a message saying this verification is optional, with a button to skip. Don’t click skip! Doing so will cause your card to get declined.
Unfortunately, even with the card set up for foreign payments and 3D secure code, the cards are sometimes declined regardless. This is because Reserve Bank of India creates a blacklist of known gambling merchants and instructs banks to decline transactions attempted with them. So this is hit or miss; your card may or may not work. If it doesn’t work directly you can use EntroPay.
Pay with Credit Card Via EntroPay
Warning: 1. Your EntroPay account, 2. The account with the gambling site you are using them for, and 3. the credit card you are funding EntroPay with, must all use the same name and address. There is no borrowing someone else card allowed; this is in the fine print. Be prepared: they might ask you to send them scanned documents. Make sure you have an ID and utility bill to match the name and address used on these three accounts.
EntroPay is simply an intermediary. It is a company that offers virtual debit cards. You can go to their site register an account in USD, GPB or EUR currency. Immediately you’re given a virtual debit card for free. You can load money on to this card using Indian debit or credit card, even though that card is most likely in Rupee. Once it is funded you can go to the cashier of a gambling site. First look to see if they have EntroPay listed as a deposit method. If they do, click that option and enter your card on that page. Otherwise, use your card just like the logo it has on it. If your virtual card is a Visa, and you do not see EntroPay listed as a banking method in the cashier, instead select Visa from the cashier.
Maestro with No Expiration or CVV Code: Some Indian banks use Maestro for their debit cards that don’t have an expiration date and/or don’t have a 3 digit CVV code on the back. When the case on expiration, add 5 years and 8 months to the issue date printed on the card and that is the expiration date to use. If your Maestro card does not have a CVV code, use the last 3 digits of the card number as that code. The advice on both of these is true both when using the card at EntroPay and when using it anywhere else.
Temporary Restricted Accounts – Don’t panic at all if you get a message saying your account is temporarily restricted. This is just a routine security check and will be resolved quickly. They are licensed by the Financial Service Authority (FSA) in the UK and are required to verify accounts. If this happens they will ask you to send in scans of your photo ID, utility bill, and card. They’ll also ask what merchant you intend to spend with. For that, it is 100% fine, to be honest and give them the name of a gambling site. They do not care at all about the laws of another country. They are a UK company that is properly licensed and gambling is very legal in the UK.
Using NETELLER or Skrill e-wallets
Warning: 1. Your e-wallet account (NETELLER or Skrill), 2. all deposit and payout methods attached to your e-wallet account (credit cards & bank accounts), and 3. your account at the gambling sites you are depositing to or cashing out from, must all have exact detail matches for name and address. Using your NETELLER account to deposit to a gambling account of someone else is a HUGE not allowed. Using someone else’s credit card on your NETELLER account, or someone else’s bank account is also not allowed. It doesn’t matter if permission is given, or if that person is your sibling, child, parent, spouse or roommate. These things are not allowed, period!
E-wallets are the best way to do online betting. Once you have these set up and money in the system you are in good shape. By having an e-wallet you can easily move money from one gambling site to another. This allows you to take advantage of new casino and poker sign up bonus offers and to have more sites to shop odds with when betting sports. The two most popular e-wallets are NETELLER and Skrill. My personal preference is NETELLER so they are who I will focus on in this section. Just note Skrill works very similar.
To get started with an e-wallet create an account at www.neteller.com. This is free. You can then fund that account using credit or debit card, bank transfer, or bitcoin. The same warning about India credit and debit cards not always working applies here too. Bank transfer is a good option if you can work it out.
There are two issues with bank transfer and e-wallets. When using this method you will need to enter your SWIFT code. Not all bank branches in India are SWIFT enabled. If your bank is SBI, their list of SWIFT code enabled branches is limited. You might look at that list and find the branch you have now is not on it but another branch next to it is. If the case, you need to go to the bank requesting to change branches. Or you can just open an additional bank account somewhere that support SWIFT.
The other issue is that outgoing money remittance is restricted in India. However, if you are working and the money is yours, you likely will not have any problem having the bank approve small transfers.
As far as bitcoin goes, this is much more complex to explain. This is a form of digital currency that holds an exchange value against all major currencies. At the time of this article, Unocoin.com is one the most popular exchange for purchasing Bitcoin in India. You buy them there easily then use them to fund NETELLER. Be sure however to Google search bitcoin in India and read up to see if others are still recommending Unocoin.com or not. Besides Unocoin there are several other bitcoin exchanges servicing our country.
With your NETELLER account funded you can now use it to deposit to any gambling site. Your NETELLER account is essentially no different than an online bank account. Almost every gambling site both accepts NETELLER deposit and issues NETELLER payouts. You can for example load Rs. 1,000 to your account and then deposit it in any increments to as many sites as you would like. When you want to cash out from one of those sites you can request a payment to your NETELLER account. This lets you move money back and forth with ease. When wanting to take money out of NETELLER there are many options including having them send a wire transfer to your home bank account or sending you a paper cheque.
Cashing out Gambling Sites
There are many options for cashing out from gambling sites. Almost all offer payouts to e-wallets including NETELLER and Skrill. However, you must have at least one time in the past deposited to that site using the same e-wallet. From e-wallets, you can then deposit to other gambling sites, or cash out all or part of your e-wallet balance via wire transfer or cheque. Many gambling sites also offer the ability to cash out with wire or cheque directly from them too. Some also offer MoneyGram, Western Union, BitCoin and other unique payout options. For details check the cashier of that specific site.
Indian Rupee (INR) Betting Sites
In India, it is possible to deposit and withdrawal to most gambling sites even if the currency is USD, EUR or GBP. Depositing and cashing out with an INR NETELLER or Skrill e-wallet to a gambling site of another currency is mostly seamless. The currency conversion is done by the e-wallet thus with them your balance will always be in rupee despite transacting in other currencies. This gives us the freedom to use many different sites to take advantage of better odds, bonuses, and promotions.
As for actual sites where it is possible to bet in INR there are only two major ones I know of. One is Dafabet/Dafa888 but they offer far less of what Indians are most often looking to bet than the other. They are licensed only in a remote independently governed area of the Philippines, thus not well regulated. The other is www.bet365.com which I have already covered in this article. They are most famous in India and offer casino, poker, and sports betting.
In the remaining sections, I touch on gambling by sports betting, casino, and poker. This will focus mostly on Bet365, but I will give other suggestions for each.
Sports Betting in India
In India, the most popular bet sport is no doubt cricket. For this, no one comes close to offering what Bet365 does. They have betting on the internationals including Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20), ODIs, Test Series, Tri Series, The Ashes, Twenty20 International, ICC Champions Trophy, ICC World Cup, and ICC World Twenty20. For domestic competitions, there is Indian Premier League (IPL) and Ranji Trophy from our country as well as Pakistan’s T-20 Cup, T20 Blast and One-Day Cup. There is also domestic cricket from UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The betting markets on these are massive. With Indian Premier League (IPL) there is both prematch betting and in-play spot betting. Markets include match winner, over/under, who wins the toss, 1st wicket, 1st wicket method, fall of 1st wicket, which team scores highest 1st 6 overs, highest opening partnership, match sixes, most run outs, 1st over total runs, top team batsman, top team bowler, if a fifty (or century) will be scored and so much more. A lot of cricket matches are live streamed right on their website with the in-play spot betting odds right next to them.
There are many more sports that can be bet at Bet365. They cover our domestic league for football, our teams for volleyball, international field hockey and more. F1 Racing, tennis, basketball, baseball, you name it and their coverage is second to none.
When joining www.bet365.com first time sports betting depositors are welcomed with a bonus offer of 100% to ₹ 2,500. This means if you deposit ₹ 2,500 you start with an account balance of ₹ 5,000. If accepting this bonus you agree to wager your initial deposit plus bonus amount over 3 times prior to cashing out. This is a very generous offer that far exceeds what sports betting sites offer to India.
When betting sports it is also a good idea to use other online gambling sites. If you have an e-wallet such as NETELLER or Skrill this is easy to do. The reason for using more sites is to take advantage of additional sign up bonuses, promotions and to shop the odds. Before making a bet check a few sites and wager at whichever is offering the highest payout. Other sites to consider having an account at include 888Sport.
Online Casino in India
www.bet365.com is also a favourite site of casino players in India. They have a wide selection of slot machines including ones that are branded by major movies and television shows. There is also video poker, blackjack, roulette, craps, and over a dozen more casino games in the standard real money computer-based versions.
Where it gets really neat is The Bet365 Live Dealer Casino. This section uses webcam rending technology to broadcast actual gaming tables with real human dealers working in a studio that is configured exactly like a brick and mortar casino. The bets are placed online but the action takes place live. There is someone actually dealing the card, spinning the wheel etc. You can type to them in the chat box and they will respond. One benefit, of course, is the authentic feel. You can be sitting at home but feel like you are out at the casino. The other benefit is being more certain the games are fair. We get to watch the shuffle, the deal, the spin and everything else which is happening in a real-time broadcast to our PC.
For the casino bonus, it is best to check Bet365’s website for current offers. Generally speaking, they offer first-time casino depositors a choice between a 100% bonus to be used on computer-based table games and a larger bonus to be used on slots. These have lots of terms in conditions on how much rollover is required and which games are restricted or only give partial credit towards rollover. Check their website for current offers and terms.
Promotions and bonuses are the main reason to also use addition casinos. If you need to redeposit and don’t have a current reload bonus at Bet365, it is wise to look elsewhere searching for a promo or reload opportunity. Some of the casinos we recommend for this are 888casino, (insert others).
Online Poker in India
In India, Paplu (Rummy) and Flush, also known as Flash and Teen Patti, have long been the most popular card games played for real money. These are however not popular outside of our country. As the internet involves playing with players from all over the globe, it is only natural some Indians have also started playing the world’s most popular real money poker game, Texas Hold’em. Many discovered it the same way the rest of the world did.
These days Texas Hold’em poker is an international phenomenon. There are cash games and tournaments of all stakes and sizes being played all over the world. It is also a televised sport. The tournaments shown on TV are not open to just professionals. It doesn’t work like golf where there is a tour card. Rather anyone with the money to buy-in can show up and enter. If they make the final they are TV stars and get life-changing winnings.
Televised poker first came to a portion of India in late 2004. Though not included with most digital and analogue providers of the time, those with satellite cable such as DishTV, Tata Sky, Videocon, Reliance, and Airtel had the Travel & Living channel. This channel started broadcasting the World Poker Tour (WPT). These were Texas Hold’em tournaments with first-prize often exceeding $1 million. Then in 2007, one such high stakes tournament was held in India.
The 2007 Asian Poker Classic was held in Goa. Though most paying the $7,500 USD to enter were foreigners about 10% of the field were Indians. Five from our country cashed in the tournament. Pranav Bathija from Mumbai won $97,000 USD for third place.
Right following this major tournament, poker rooms were added to most casino vessels in Goa. In 2009, Casino Mahjong, India’s first land-based casino opened inside the Mayfair Hotel in the state of Sikkim. The first land-based poker room in India opened along with it.
The rest from there is mostly history. Facebook became popular and people started playing free hold’em there. Others discovered online poker sites offering real money games. The list of Top Indian Poker Winners illustrates many have found success playing high stakes poker tournaments around the country. Today there are several major live poker tours that stop in India, and our own domestic tour is the Indian Poker Championship (IPT).
For online poker from India, yet again www.bet365.com is the ideal site. They operate on what is called the iPoker Network. This network involves several major gambling sites all sharing the same player base. This means a lot of traffic around the clock to all variants of poker in the cash game, sit and go, and multi-table tournament format. However, not everyone will prefer their site.
Some players are superstitious and if not running well at a site prefer to move to another. Titan Poker is another website on the iPoker Network that is famous. 888Poker is a large site on a different network offering very different software, features, and promotions. As long as you know how to play the game, the playing online aspect is mostly self-intuitive. Check out a few sites and decide which one you prefer.