Indian officials in most states are serious about arresting and prosecuting bookmakers and syndicates, but the good news is most officials are only interested in going after illegal bookies, NOT recreational sports bettors. This however has not stopped officials from making their arrest of bookies a highly publicized act. The idea here is if you scare players enough it will keep gambling out of the public eye and those against gambling are satisfied enough that the authorities are doing their job well.
Tips to Avoid Arrest
Although we’re not condoning gambling by any means, we at sportsbetting.net.in do believe that adults have the right to make choices for themselves. Considering many will still gamble regardless of laws, and no one wants to be the next arrested for gambling in India – here are a few tips that will be helpful should you decide to wager sports.
Tip #1 Only Bet Using the Internet – To the best of our knowledge, and we Google searched this for hours, no “player” has ever been arrested in India for making bets from the comfort of their own home using an internet connection.
Tip #2 Only Gamble with UK Licensed Bookmakers – There are several reasons for this. For starters gambling is legal and heavily regulated in the United Kingdom – only financially secure and reputable bookmakers are licensed. Secondly, gambling debts are not enforceable under Indian law, but they are in the UK. Proper channels exist should a licensed bookmaker not pay you and you wish to take action against them. Finally, many international bookmakers such as betway.com accept wagers in Indian Rupee (INR).
Tip #3 Only Use E-wallets Licensed by the UK’s Financial Services Authority – Again, for reason that gambling debts are unenforceable under Indian law, you want to make sure the method you are using to deposit and withdrawal from betting sites is ideal. Likewise, you want to avoid dealing with companies likely to run into problems with the Reserve Bank of India. For this I suggest all your online gambling transactions are made using a 3rd party e-wallet such as Neteller, Skrill or EntroPay.
Gambling Arrests in India
As I mentioned in the intro of this article Indian authorities are not shy about making their arrest of bookies a highly publicized act. Often when gambling syndicates are broken up the Indian authorities will set up press conferences, invite the media and pose with photos of seized devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and even in some cases the cash. The biggest time for this is the cricket World Cup.
During the 2011 World Cup (February 19 – April 2) there were 44 arrests. This included 24-businessmen and 13 property dealers. A total of 16 betting rackets were broken up and 158 mobile phones were seized [Source]. As far as sports bettors are concerned, the risk is rather low. For the most part arrests are always bookmakers and not the bettors themselves. When moving to casino and card games however, players often are arrested.
On 12 August 2011, 16 gamblers and a hotel manager were arrested over a Teen Patti game in Vastrapur, an area of the Ahmedabad district in the Indian state of Gujarat. This arrest happened when a special squad of zone-I deputy commissioner raided the Vibrant Place Hotel around 1AM. There were 19 players overall, all described as well off, but three of the gamblers managed to escape. [Source]. This came just days after the Times of India reported the son of BJP MLA from Ghatkopar (E), Prakash Mehta (Abhishek Mehta) was arrested with 22 others for gambling in a five-star hotel in the Mumbai suburbs. A common trend here, they were playing Teen Patti as well.
These are not isolated examples. If you visit Google.co.in and search gambling arrest in India, chances are no matter what time of the year you’ll find plenty recent instances of both bookies and card players having been arrested. No matter how deep you dig though, it is quite unlikely you’ll find a case of someone having been arrested for wagering with a UK licensed bookmaker, discretely using their own home internet connection and home computer or laptop. 24 August 2011 is another example, 502 people were arrested over the 10 days leading to this date.
The bottom line is this – if you want to play Teen Patti or other casino games live head to Goa. At www.yatra.com you can search multiple airlines to find the best price – I’ve even found flights Mumbai to Goa for just Rs. 1800. Meanwhile if you want to wager sports online, stick to licensed betting sites such as betway, and deposit with an e-wallet such as www.neteller.com.
Keep in mind online gambling is heavily restricted in most Indian States, with Sikkim the only exception. There are certainly some risks, but when you play in smart and follow the tips contained in this article it’s unlikely you’ll be the next arrested for gambling in India. If you are caught, the crime is rather minor. So long as you don’t work in a bank, or in law enforcement or have a similar profession, there is probably not too much to worry about. In any case, if you do decide to gamble online, I wish you the best of luck and encourage you to navigate other pages of our website for more helpful tips.