It is incredible how big the differences are between the legislative systems in the different regional parts of India. Today you can do whatever you want in terms of gambling. But if you travel to a city several kilometres away, you will be fined even if you try to join a simple Rummy game. Every gambler needs to know what the gambling laws are in their city. So today we are talking about the gambling laws in West Bengal and the online games you can participate in.
Unlike other regions of India, gambling laws in West Bengal are quite permissive and light. Residents of West Bengal are not allowed to bet on any category of games, but there are enough alternatives. Laws prohibiting gambling exist, but some games have become allowed and are excluded from gambling lists. For example, in West Bengal, card games are not considered gambling.
Because the laws are so varied, West Bengal has an impressive number of players. Here we have the biggest betting community in all of India. This is somewhat possible due to the fact that West Bengal is also the most populous state in India.
Gambling enthusiasts in West Bengal would do anything to place a few bets on their favourite sports. Cricket is everyone’s favourite, but unfortunately, even in West Bengal, you are not allowed to bet on cricket.
Yes, in West Bengal, poker is a legal game thanks to the West Bengal Gambling & Prize Competition Act, 1957. In this act, it is very clearly specified that a certain category of card games, such as poker, bridge, or rummy, have been excluded from the official definition of gambling. However, you cannot play poker or rummy anywhere in West Bengal. These games must be organized by agents who have a permit from the Commissioner of Police Calcutta.
The same 1957 act is also responsible for legalizing the exclusion of horse racing from the definition of gambling. Citizens can place bets on these races only thanks to this document. West Bengal is known for organizing the most famous horse races in the world. Most of them are hosted by Kolkata Race Course throughout the year. If you are ever eager to see what such a prestigious event looks like, we recommend you go to the Queen Elizabeth Cup.
And for the operation of betting actions in horse racing, the state requires bookmakers to obtain a license from the government institutions. As in all regions of India where gambling is allowed, these actions contribute a lot to the state budget. In West Bengal, about $250,000 is paid annually in taxes.
For the average gambler, gambling laws in West Bengal say very clearly that the only legal lotteries are those organized by the state. Lotteries that are organized online must pay certain fees. So, if you just want to take part in a lottery, in West Bengal it is perfectly legal. If your interest is to organize such a lottery online, you will have to pay a fee of 1700 dollars for each draw.
Moreover, since 2018, lotteries have been forced to increase the number of draws from one per week to one per day. The year 2020 was not exactly a wonderful one for the companies that organized these lotteries. A new law substantially increased the taxes that should have been paid by them to the state from 12% to 28%. Thus, the betting agents who organized the lotteries had to make the decision to close the lotteries.
The lottery industry in West Bengal is collapsing, bookmakers and lotteries are not profitable anymore, and the state just wants to earn as much money as possible from them.
Gambling laws in West Bengal tend to be more permissive when it comes to card games. It seems that it is not only the laws that were made 50 years ago that matter. It is also important how open-minded those who vote now are to these laws that affect certain games of chance. Apparently, three judges in India have come to the conclusion that the game of poker is more of a game of skill than of luck.
Thus, it has been established that poker is not exactly well-regarded as a game of chance. If poker is not a game of chance, it is perfectly legal. From there, things escalated fairly quickly and more and more casinos and poker clubs appeared overnight in West Bengal. As you probably expected, it took only a short time for casinos and entrepreneurs to realise that these games can also be played online.
Although there are some limitations when it comes to gambling laws in West Bengal and some gambling activities that are banned in this region, things are pretty good. Gamblers and gambling enthusiasts here have plenty of alternatives to try their luck and enough games to sign up for in the adrenaline of betting.
They can play poker, place bets on lottery draws and even bet on horse races. Many of them are also involved in sports betting illegally. A multi-million dollar industry is being handled illegally. Unlike other regions in India where absolutely all gambling activities are illegal, West Bengal is more than ok.