Is Online Lottery Legal in India?

lottery drum and legal gavel

What does the law say about playing online lottery in India?

Are online lotteries legal in India?” was one of the first questions I asked myself when I considered to start playing. Sadly it’s not quite as easy as a yes or no answer.

As you may know the laws in different states can differ quite a bit and of course, online lotteries are no exception.

Also, outdated lottery laws in India make it hard to interpret the legality of online lotto games and sites.

Law bookAs this is quite a complicated subject I have based all my legal articles on International Comparative Legal Guides in-depth research on Gambling in India 2020.

The research was made by Nishith Desai Associates which is known as Asia’s most Innovative Law Firm. As experts on laws regarding new technology such as the Internet of Things and Blockchain, you can be sure that what they say is true.

With offices in Mumbai, Silicon Valley, Bangalore, Singapore, New Delhi, Munich and New York they are one of the leading legal interpreters of dated laws and technological upgrades.

If you are just looking for a legitimate online lottery in India to enjoy you can take a look at my favourites below.

1.
Lottoland

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2.
Lotto247

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3.
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Now if you want to learn WHY lotteries on the internet are not illegal in India you should continue reading.

Which States Allow Lottery in India?

The federal government ruled over lotteries for a long time. Control was later given to each of the Indian states by banning all private lotteries in 1967.

This made it possible for each state to make its own lotteries. First out was the state of Kerala.

It quickly became popular and many other states followed the model that Kerala state had made.

So, the first modern legal lotteries were created in India.

As of right now, you can enjoy the following government lotteries:

  • Kerala State Lottery
  • Maharashtra lottery
  • Punjab state lottery
  • Mizoram state lottery
  • West Bengal state lottery
  • Nagaland state lottery
  • Sikkim state lottery

Any state where you can find legal lotteries you can also play at top online lotteries in India.

These online lotteries follow some of the strictest gambling laws in the world so not only is it legal, but you are also safe playing there.

Indian favourites such as Lotto247 and Lottoland are of course legal.

The states where lotteries are illegal are more of a grey area.

Grey Area

The question regarding legality is hard when it comes to states where lotteries are illegal. Yes, lotteries are illegal but the question is are online lotteries in India legal.

I have revised this with several experts and each has a different answer but they all agree on one thing that international lotteries online are not illegal but still it is hard to say that they are 100% legal.

The law that governs lotteries specifically regards physical lotteries in India so online lotteries are unregulated.

Now some people will say that this, of course, makes online lottery tickets legal whereas others will say that they are unsure.

Through the guidance of the top legal summary on gambling laws in India, the conclusion is that it can be considered legal.

If there are no rules that prohibit online lotteries how can it be illegal?

A more important fact to consider is that if the government were to take action, it would not be against you as a player.

Not a single Indian has been punished for playing international online lottery.

The government would look at ways they can restrict the lottery sites themselves, never the players.

This means you can enjoy the top online lotteries, consequence-free. 

FEMA

The Foreign Exchange Management Act or FEMA which was put in place in 1999 is the only thing that regulates participation in online international lotteries. It states that:

“In terms of Section 5 of the FEMA, persons resident in India 1 are free to buy or sell foreign exchange for any current account transaction except for those transactions for which drawal of foreign exchange has been prohibited by Central Government, such as remittance out of lottery winnings; remittance of income from racing/riding, etc., or any other hobby; remittance for purchase of lottery tickets”.

Now this might seem like buying lottery tickets is illegal but the fact is that the way that this law is written does not affect lotto agents or lotto bookmakers.

Lotto agents purchase tickets for you legally.

In this case, you are not actually buying tickets yourself but you are rather buying a service. This means that “remittance for purchase of lottery tickets” does not apply to you.

As for lotto bookmakers, they allow you to place bets on the outcome of each game so that isn’t a purchase of tickets either.

To put it as simple as possible, when this law was written they had no idea how online lotteries would work.

The current structure of these games creates a void where the law prohibits you from buying tickets from resellers but not from services that purchase tickets for you such as lottery agents.

Take a look at my How does an online lottery work post if you want to know more about lotto agents and bookmakers.

The main problem with the current laws is that they haven’t progressed at the same speed as the evolution of the internet. This creates a lot of confusion regarding the legality.

Online Lottos are permitted by law

The conclusion is that online lotteries are not illegal until the Indian government revises its current laws.

Currently, there is an immense amount of Indians already playing online lotteries. I haven’t heard a single one that has had any problems in the form of fines or any other ramifications from government officials.

Of course, I would never suggest you put yourself at risk but playing online lotteries in India, there are no risks.

Let’s say it was illegal (even though it isn’t) there are no legal consequences at the moment due to the out of date laws that are intended to regulate lotteries.

The only consequence you will have is to pay taxes on your wins other than that you are completely safe.

Ramesh
Last updated on 19th June 2020

Published: 23/10/2019

Categories: Informational