Online Gambling In Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh is the most populated state in India, as per the latest census of the Indian government. Uttar Pradesh doesn’t have any formal gambling state laws in place and for any rulings on gambling; it still follows the obsolete Public Gambling Act of 1857. Uttar Pradesh is famous for illegal betting rings being run across the state. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 8,339 pending cases of violation the Gambling Act as per 2014. It’s the eighth-highest number of pending cases in the country. The following questions will discuss the latest gambling laws and the legality of different betting games in Uttar Pradesh:

Is online gambling legal in Uttar Pradesh?

Since Uttar Pradesh lacks a clear-cut gambling laws framework, we have to fall back on the Public Gambling Act of 1857 for any rulings on betting or online gambling.

Thanks to a lack of clarity on online gambling laws, residents of Uttar Pradesh can currently play skill-based games like poker and rummy online for real money. Again, due to a huge grey area in the laws, residents can also indulge in playing fantasy sports, which at the moment are pseudo-skill based games.

Another exception is betting on online horse racing, which is legal in Uttar Pradesh. This is thanks to the Supreme Court ruling, which clearly described horse racing as a game of skill than chance.

There is still a debate where games like ‘teen-Patti’ or Indian Flush are deemed to be games of skill or not. However, there are many online teen-Patti sites which have come up and till now, it seems like a resident of Uttar Pradesh can play on these sites legally.

Is Matka Satta gambling legal in Uttar Pradesh?

The Satta game, or Matka Satta, is a term coined in Maharashtra. Numbers were drawn from a ‘pot’ or ‘Matka’, thus the name was coined; it’s similar to present-day lottery. Matka Satta gambling is illegal in Uttar Pradesh. Since all gambling is referred to the Gambling Act of 1857, which deems lottery illegal, therefore, the Matka Satta is also illegal in Uttar Pradesh.

That being said, there is a thriving underground illegal Matka Satta market in the state, and every now and then we read about illegal operations being raided by the police. It’s hard to discern the exact size of the Matka Satta market as there isn’t concrete data available that lists the pervasiveness of the Matka market in Uttar Pradesh. In any case, all forms of lottery or Matka Satta are illegal in the state.

The state government can take a cue from other states like Sikkim, Goa and Punjab which have legalized online lottery. Also, other states like West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Goa, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland have legalized land-based lotteries. Revenues from online as well as offline Matka/lottery gambling have given a huge impetus to these state governments and it’s high time the Uttar Pradesh government realizes the opportunity in regulating Matka Satta or lottery.

Is online cricket betting legal in Uttar Pradesh?

Online cricket betting and betting in brick-and-mortar establishments are illegal in India. None of the states have specific laws which make online cricket betting legal. Similarly, Uttar Pradesh has also deemed online and offline cricket betting as illegal. Also, any online cricket betting site is also illegal.

It’s surprising to find out that betting on cricket would be illegal in a country like India where cricket is a religion. India is the hub for cricket Satta and is the biggest market in the world in terms of volume bet. Nobody can really peg the current size of the Indian cricket betting market, but as per reports, it exceeds INR-Indian Rupees 50000 Crore.

It seems odd that even though the Indian government is aware of the magnitude of cricket betting in the country, yet it is not doing anything to regulate the huge market. Online, as well as offline, Satta/cricket betting syndicates exist openly, yet no state or the central government is ready to act on it.

Are there any horse racing tracks in Uttar Pradesh?

The Lucknow Race Course is located in the cantonment area of Lucknow and has the longest race track in India. Compared to other race tracks, it was recently established and has completed 15 seasons to date.

The annual races include Lucknow Golf Club Cup, The Times of India Group Cup, MB Club Cup Race, Sponsor Race, Maj Gen Mahendra Pratap Memorial Cup, Army Commander’s Cup, and the President Cup.

The Lucknow Race Course also streams live races from other race tracks and allows online betting on races. The betting calendar exceeds 260 days at the Lucknow Race Course.

Is online betting for horse racing legal in Uttar Pradesh?

After the Supreme Court ruling which deemed betting on horse racing legal and a game of skill, there was a surge in the number of Uttar Pradesh residents betting on horse racing. Uttar Pradesh boasts of the Lucknow Race Course which has completed 15 seasons till date.

Residents of Uttar Pradesh are legally allowed to partake in online horse betting on races being held in various race courses of the country. Currently, there are eight states which have legal horse racing tracks; they are Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Meghalaya.

The Lucknow Race Course has a long racing calendar and allows Uttar Pradesh residents to place bets on horse races. The Lucknow race course also offers live streaming of races being held at other courses in India and people can indulge in online horse race betting.

Which online betting sites are safe for Indian players?

As per the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999, there are many stipulations for Indian residents to bet on Satta markets or on international betting sites. First, one needs to use an international payment gateway to transfer funds to an online betting site. The government of India allows Indian nationals to use payment gateway services though there are certain restrictions as to the maximum amount transferable and the nature of the transaction.

The most trusted payment services are Skrill, Neteller, Payoneer, PayPal and Entropay, which allow Indian punters to transfer funds from their banks to international betting sites. They each provide their services for a certain commission rate.

The most trusted international sites which allow Indian punters are Bet365, Betfair, William Hill, Betway, Bodog and Betrally. These sites have been operating for a very long time now and are safe with a proven track record. The punter should do his/her due diligence and get familiar with these sites before betting online. Each betting site will have their own rates/odds (for particular sports) and it’s up to the punter to decide which online site and online sport suits them. Also, the punter needs to check beforehand which payment services the online betting site accepts, both both deposits and withdrawals.

Are there any land-based casinos in Uttar Pradesh?

Uttar Pradesh doesn’t have any land-based or offshore casinos within its state boundaries. Like mentioned before, since there are no specific casino laws in the state, there’s no room for government-regulated casinos. By the looks of it, the state government has no agenda in issuing licenses to private companies to open land-based casinos.

Currently, only three Indian states have legal land-based and offshore casinos; they are Goa, Daman and Sikkim.

Which IPL teams are based in Uttar Pradesh?

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the biggest cricketing event in India with the richest prize purse. Till date, 11 seasons have been completed in the franchise format league and we are yet to see a team being represented from Uttar Pradesh. Apart from Kanpur, there isn’t an international cricket stadium in Uttar Pradesh which is regularly used to host international matches.

As far as the online IPL cricket betting market and the underground cricket Satta market is concerned, there is a huge crime syndicate flourishing in Uttar Pradesh. Like any other state in India, online and offline cricket betting is completely illegal, yet it’s a thriving multi-billion dollar industry. Illegal cricket betting isn’t anything new. India has been the focal point for international bookmakers for decades. There have also been many cases of international match-fixing which were orchestrated by Indian bookies as well.

Conclusion

Historically, the state of Uttar Pradesh hasn’t taken any steps to legalize or regulate any form of gambling or promote any skill-based games. The same can be said about online sports betting and online gambling. The silver lining is the fact that because of an absence of dedicated state laws and the laws being in an unclear grey area; residents of Uttar Pradesh are allowed to play online poker, online rummy as well as fantasy sports.

Unlike other states which have adopted the Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998; Uttar Pradesh has the Unauthorized Lottery (Prevention) Act, 1995 in place, which clearly mentions that all forms of lottery betting are illegal in the state. The government had tried to legalize lottery in the last decade, but the law was never passed. So, as of 2018, lottery is completely banned in the state.

Uttar Pradesh has one of the highest crime rates in the country and quite so often, we see arrests being made in illegal gambling houses. This form of organized crime is hurting the state economy as it isn’t ready to address the elephant in the room. The government is aware of illegal betting rackets and online cricket betting, but chooses to turn a blind eye. The public is also aware of Matka Satta, IPL Satta, online cricket betting and underground lotteries in Uttar Pradesh, yet nobody seems to want to regulate it.

The government of Uttar Pradesh isn’t being proactive and the future of gambling looks really bad. Apart from online poker, rummy and horse racing; none of the games of skill, lotteries, casino-related games, other betting games or cricket Satta are legal. We can understand the status of cricket betting being illegal throughout the country, but it is about time the central government took a stand and legalized the multi-billion dollar underground Satta market in the country.

With the state elections on the horizon, none of the political parties want to add “legalization of gambling” to their manifesto because of the stigma surrounding betting and gambling. This snail-paced approach of the state, as well as the country, is hurting the exchequer and by the looks of it, will continue in times to come. The thriving illegal underground betting syndicates couldn’t be happier with this nonchalant outlook of the governments towards such a serious issue.