You will have a hard time finding a place where you can gamble legally in the state of Maharashtra, as physical gambling is strictly prohibited by the gambling laws in Maharashtra. If you’re caught participating in land-based gambling activities, you will be sentenced to prison. Fortunately for the gambling fans, the outdated legal system allows several loopholes, and the gambling industry is thriving in Maharashtra, especially in the city of Mumbai.
The gambling laws in Maharashtra have been established more than one hundred years ago, in 1887, under an act known as the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, which states that it is illegal to take part in any land-based gambling and betting event. You cannot own a gambling house or administer such institutions without being punished by Indian law. The punishment received is considered by many a decent price to pay for a chance at a better life. A lot of people participate in such events with the risk of getting caught.
At the second offence, you will spend three months in prison. The same fine you paid the first time applies again. If you’re unlucky and get caught a third time, you will spend six months in prison without paying any fines.
Betting on games considered games of chance is strictly forbidden in Maharashtra, as it is in the entire country. Considering that gambling laws in Maharashtra haven’t been significantly updated since before the Internet, that means you can gamble online casinos that aren’t under the country’s jurisdiction without getting into any legal trouble. As a consequence of the legal system’s inability to keep up with the times, offshore casinos and betting websites are flourishing in Maharashtra.
In India, only two states allow physical casinos to operate, and they are Goa and Sikkim. In Maharashtra, under the Casinos Act from 1976, casinos can operate under legal license in a few specific areas, for a fee. Otherwise, owning and administering a casino is illegal.
You can’t find a single land-based casino in Maharashtra where you can be certain of its legal status. Even though there are several that claim they work under legal license, you might be safer gambling physically in Goa and Sikkim.
The gambling laws in Maharashtra make a clear distinction between games of chance and games of skill. In the state of Maharashtra, as in the entire country, games of chance are illegal.
Do not let that discourage you. Sports betting laws in Maharashtra are regulated by the Public Gaming Act from 1867. Same as online casinos and gambling houses, you can participate freely and legally in sports betting online. That is because websites are outside the Indian jurisdiction.
And even though Rummy and poker are also games of skill, you cannot organize or participate in such events in public settings. You can enjoy them in the intimacy of your home, amongst family and friends.
The Lotteries Regulation Act of 1998 lists Maharashtra as one of the states that allow lottery institutions to function if they follow specific rules. The Act states that if you’re caught printing and selling lottery tickets without any official authorization or permit, you are liable to a prison sentence of two years. And if you are planning on doing business selling lottery tickets, you should register with Maharashtra Tax Authority first. Otherwise, you could face punishment just as severe.
The gambling laws in Maharashtra create a situation full of uncertainties and loopholes. However, if you are aware of them, you can navigate laws without any legal consequences. Internet speed and safety have made online gambling a prosperous business all over the world. So, Maharashtra and India are no exception. If you want to gamble while you’re in Maharashtra, the safest place you can do it is online.