Gambling in India dates as far back as the 7300’s BC. Ancient Indians were known to indulge in and enjoy gambling, with records about gambling boards believed to be chess and a dice game in the Ramayana. The story is not different today. Many Indians still enjoy gambling even though the activity has evolved over the years.
In this article, we’ll take a brief look at the history of gambling in India, from its beginnings to where it is currently.
Origin of Gambling in India
As stated, the earliest record of gambling activities in the country was founded in the Ramayan, a Sanskrit epic believed to have been written in 7300’s BC. Another epic, the Mahabharata, also details a dice game with which a king called Yudhishthira got cheated out of his position and wealth.
In addition to the references in these epics, there are also details of Indian gambling activities in Ancient Buddhist texts. These texts suggest that Indians gambled with nuts as far back as 300 BC and give us an idea that gambling on Animal sports was common too. They started with Ram and cock fights after which horse racing was also included.
While many have believed over the years that gambling was imported into the country from Europe, these early texts prove otherwise. But since then, a lot of things have changed.
As centuries rolled by, Indians continued to gamble but found more sophisticated ways to do so. They always put up a system to make sure there was fair play. As a result, many gambling houses were opened in the 15th century.
These gambling houses were regulated by the authorities and there were taxes on players’ winnings. The revenue was going to the government.
In the 18th century, Cricket became popular in the country after being introduced by the Brits. Betting on Cricket also began and spread so rapidly across the nation. Till today, the love for the sport has continued. However, betting was later made illegal by the Gambling Act of 1867.
Gambling in India today
Since the Gambling Act became active in 1867, there have been only slight changes in the Indian betting industry. Till today, there have been no new laws and many have continued to debate the advantages and bad effects of gambling.
However, since the Gambling Act never covered online betting, Indians have exploited this inadequacy of the law to bet freely at offshore online sportsbooks and casinos.
The operators of these casinos are also taking advantage of this and customizing their services to serve Indians better. They promote Cricket betting heavily and have included many Indian local games in the casino lobbies. Today, you will find various Teen Patti live games at online casinos.
In recent times, some states took steps to ban all forms of gambling and real money games in their jurisdictions. This has sparked debates among industry stakeholders and government officials. A possible regulation for online gambling in India is now being discussed.
As of early 2022, a new gambling bill is being reviewed. This bill seeks to provide policies for gambling and regulate all companies that will offer betting services in the country.