Are online lotteries really legal in India?
Yes and no. It all depends.
Some online lotto games allow you to win hundreds of crores without breaking any Indian laws while others are illegal and any winnings can be confiscated by the government.
In this in-depth legal article I will teach you where you can play legal online lottery from India, why it is not illegal to play some lottery games on the internet and what you need to avoid to be safe while playing.
As this is quite a complicated subject I have based this article 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 want to play online lotteries without breaking any laws your only option at the moment is international online lotto sites.
Since international lotto websites are located outside of India on the internet they are not governed by Indian laws.
Now what does that mean exactly?
It is not illegal to play on worldwide lotto websites. It is not explicitly legal either but there are plenty of things that aren’t explicitly legal that no one would consider illegal.
Outdated laws don’t apply to lotteries that are based outside of India making international lotteries playable without legal consequences.
Below you can read some examples of legal lottery sites.
Lottoland is also legal in India based on the fact that it is based in Gibraltar. Furthermore it has several e-gambling licenses which makes it one of the most trusted lotto sites.
Lotto247 is based in Cyprus making it an international lottery site and legal to play in India. It also has several e-gambling licenses making it a genuine website that allows you to play the best lotto games in the world.
As a worldwide lottery website you can play LottoSmile without legal consequences. It offers the lowest minimum deposit of all online lotteries and has all the top rated games.
In states where lotteries are legal you are free to purchase lottery tickets online from international lotto sites like the ones mentioned above.
All lotteries are legal including international lottery sites.
If you are a citizen of a state that has banned lotteries I still have good news for you. You can buy lottery tickets without legal consequence but it is not explicitly legal nor is it illegal.
The important thing to know is that you will not be punished for playing nor will your winnings be confiscated as long as you play on a worldwide lotto site based outside of India.
You can read more about it in the Indian Lottery Laws section further down in the article.
Sadly there are scammers trying to use the genuine quality that is offered by worldwide online lottos.
Online lotto sites that are based in India are illegal since they fall under Indian laws.
You need to be cautious with any sites that are not in my lottery reviews since several dubious online lotteries falsely claim to be international.
I have made a series on this site called “Genuine Lottery or Scam” where I investigate these suspicious sites.
Through my research I have found several sites you need to avoid but there are 3 sites that are particularly dangerous since they have aggressive marketing:
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.
Most of the legal lottery states offer their own games and allow you to play other state games as well.
Any state where you can find legal lotteries you can also play the top international online lottery sites that accept players from India.
The states where lotteries are illegal are more of a grey area.
Currently 13 states allow you to play lotteries legally:
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.
Online lotteries in banned states is a grey area in legal terms. When something is “grey” it means that something isn’t explicitly legal nor is it illegal.
The law that governs lotteries specifically regards lotteries in India so online international lotteries are unregulated.
This does not mean you are free to play any online lotto. If the online lottery is based in India then Indian laws apply and if they are not government approved they are illegal.
You can ONLY play at international lotto sites like the ones mentioned in the Legal Lottery Sites section in the states where lottery is banned.
All lotteries, except international lotteries, are illegal in the following states:
No, it is not legal to buy state lottery tickets online.
Almost every government lottery has guidelines that tickets can only be purchased from physical vendors in the respective state.
I made an in-depth investigation on websites that sell Kerala lottery tickets online and what I found was shocking.
Many players got scammed when purchasing and there were other cases where players had won the jackpot but the Kerala state refused to give them their prize because of purchasing online.
Both of the acts were created before the internet was commonly used which is where the confusion regarding their applicability lies.
The Public Gambling Act governs all gambling in India. It explicitly says what is legal and illegal. As it was written in 1867 it does not mention anything about online gambling. This has left a lot of question marks about the legality of any kind of online gambling. Since the government takes no action against Indian citizens playing on international gambling sites they have, in a way, made it legal. The Lotteries Regulation Act of 1998 defines how governments and government sanctioned operators are allowed to construct legal lottery games. Here is where an important distinction comes in for online lotteries. It does not mention online lotteries but it is very clear that any lottery game, no matter in which way it is created, that is based in India needs to adhere to these rules. Therefore all Indian online lotteries are illegal unless they are sanctioned by the government and adhere to the strict rules of the Act.
Public Gambling Act 1867
Lotteries Regulation Act 1998
The Public Gambling Act governs all gambling in India. It explicitly says what is legal and illegal. As it was written in 1867 it does not mention anything about online gambling.
This has left a lot of question marks about the legality of any kind of online gambling.
Since the government takes no action against Indian citizens playing on international gambling sites they have, in a way, made it legal.
The Lotteries Regulation Act of 1998 defines how governments and government sanctioned operators are allowed to construct legal lottery games.
Here is where an important distinction comes in for online lotteries. It does not mention online lotteries but it is very clear that any lottery game, no matter in which way it is created, that is based in India needs to adhere to these rules.
Therefore all Indian online lotteries are illegal unless they are sanctioned by the government and adhere to the strict rules of the Act.