Online bookmakers in India
If you are a citizen of India there are many online bookmakers willing to accept your rupee deposits, although you may have to do a little research before you dive in. There are some potential hurdles you must clear, including depositing and withdrawing and finding a trustworthy site. This article will give you an overview of the best sports betting sites for India and give you an overview of the illegal online industry which gathers more passengers every year.
GUIDE: GAMBLING IN INDIA
An overview: There is more to sports betting in India than the IPL
Indian sports betting is fuelled by the millions of passionate cricket fans in the country of 1.3 billion people, with the Indian Premier League and the Indian national teams never far from punters’ minds. The IPL in particular has revolutionised sports betting in this country and, in fact, globally with this competition having huge interest around the world. Many other countries, including Australia (Big Bash League) and England (T20 Blast), have attempted to emulate it, but the million-dollar salaries available for Indian players and international imports make the IPL truly one of a kind. From a betting perspective billions of rupee are wagered annually on this tournament both with illegal bookies and online bookmakers, the latter which sit in a grey area and are not really covered in local laws.
The only legal sports betting in India is on horse racing and even then it is available only on-course or via parimutuel agencies which are government run and don’t have the best reputation in India, despite many crore being pumped through them at each race meeting held. The Indian government deemed horse racing wagering was not only about luck, but rather a skill, which means it is exempt from the strict gambling laws in the country. There are nine horse racing tracks in India including the well-known Hyderabad Race Club.
While cricket is the obvious popular sport in India to bet on, there is massive interest in various football leagues and American competitions such as the NBA and MLB with the televised matches of these basketball and baseball leagues drawing great interest. Some of the unique domestic competitions Indians bet on include:
Hockey India League: The No.1 domestic field hockey competition in the world will resume in 2019 after going into hiatus for one year to avoid clashing with the Indoor World Cup which was sanctioned by the International Hockey Federation, although there were also rumblings that some clubs were struggling to stay afloat despite there being only six teams in the competition. The 2019 edition takes on a vastly different look with five-a-side teams instead of the traditional 11-person outfits. The Indian men’s team is ranked sixth in the world, while the women’s outfit is fifth with both teams enjoying considerable historical success on the world stage.
Indian Premier Badminton League: The PBL was founded in 2013 and has a huge following among locals, with teams made up of both international shuttlers and the best players from India. The competition has been struggling in recent years, with limited sponsorship and poor administration, but the sheer volume of players means when it is sorted out it will become a huge betting event.
Pro Kabaddi League: This is one of the most popular domestic competitions in India and has to be seen to be believed. It features two teams of seven players and is a full-contact sport. In short, one player attempts to “tag” as many of the opposition players in their half of the court before attempting to return to their own side of the court. Players are eliminated when they are tagged or tackled but can return to the court when their team scores. Go on, Google it, and watch it.
Pro Wrestling League: Is one of the most lucrative wrestling leagues in the world and is very popular in India. Plenty of money is wagered on the sport with both illegal bookies and online, although you have to dig pretty deep to find an online betting site which has markets for this competition. This is one competition that is not going anywhere and when regulation is brought in surrounding sports betting in India it will explode as the local answer to the UFC.
Cricket betting in India
While we will go into far greater detail about cricket betting in India in a separate article, we will quickly run you through the most popular leagues on which Indians bet on a regular basis. With the nature of Twenty20 cricket being that many players jet from one league to the next, you will find Indian stars playing in various competitions right around the world. Some of the most popular leagues, broken into the competition type include:
Chappell Hadlee Trophy
ICC Champions Trophy
World Cricket League
Other popular sports to wager on
Mixed martial arts
Cross country skiing
Top 3 sports betting sites for India
Betway: Is a global gambling company but does cater specifically to Indians and has deposit options that are suitable for locals of India such as Neteller and Skrill. Features many markets from various cricket competitions around the world, including the IPL. The company is based out of Malta and has several different licences in regulated markets. Alongside Bet365, Betway is probably the No.1 offshore betting option for Indian punters.
Royal Panda: Is a well-known casino-sportsbook that has some unique competitions to wager on, including some based in India and various T20 competition around the world. One of the best things about Royal Panda is that it has some live betting options on crickets and hundreds of futures markets. This is definitely a bookmaker that Indians can trust and our man on the inside tells us that their footprint is growing all the time on the sub-continent. You will find heaps of international markets and easy, secure deposit options that are suitable for the Indian market.
LeoVegas: Licensed in the UK and Malta among other places, Leo Vegas has an outstanding reputation all around the world. This company has its own platform which is slowly being picked up by more gambling companies and the success of its online casino has allowed it to put plenty of money into it. Has the deposit options required for Indians to wager successfully while we have also heard great reports about fast cash-outs.
All of the offshore bookmakers for India punters the World Gambling List recommends also feature a mobile version of their website, which means you can bet on your favourite sports from your smartphones and tablets.
Generally the mobile offerings at online bookmakers will mirror those of the desktop website, although there may be some subtle differences such as fewer deposit options or some markets not being available. To find out more about the mobile websites of each company read our reviews.
Depositing Rupee into an online betting account
As we have previously mentioned it can be challenging depositing money into an online sports betting account if you are from India. This is because the government tends to block bank transfers and some credit card transactions directly to these types of websites. Don’t worry, it’s not a problem that can’t be fixed, with most punters opting to use a web wallet service to add another layer between them and the website they wish to bet at.
Web wallets: To keep it simple web wallets allow you to put virtual money into them, just like you would a real wallet. You open up an account at trusted a website such as Neteller or Skrill, link your card or use one of the many other options available to fund it. You can then choose one of these methods at websites like Betway, Bet365 and many others and fund your betting account instantly.
Credit and debit cards: This is definitely one of the most popular ways to fund gambling accounts globally, but Indians can have trouble using this method because the government has forced banks into blocking them. In our experience when using a card from India they can work one day and don’t the next – it really is hit or miss.
Bank transfer/wire: This method is when you transfer money from your bank account directly to an account held by the gambling company. Generally the account will be based offshore so the deposit can take a few days to hit your account and often it will bounce back to you because it will be blocked by your bank.
Online bookmaker licensing
Because India does not address online bookmakers in its laws, the websites we recommend will be licensed in other places, like Malta or the United Kingdom, which are some of the most respected jurisdictions in the world.
When Indian regulation is eventually brought in surrounding online sports betting, the World Gambling List will update this article to reflect these changes and only recommend legal bookies.
Is sports betting legal in India?
It is not illegal – which is the really important thing. Basically the laws stop bookies operating from India but the global nature of online sports betting means that many punters based in this country will bet with bookies elsewhere. As far as we know there has never been an Indian citizen charged for wagering with an offshore betting site.
As recently as late 2018 the Indian government has indicated a willingness to address the booming sports betting industry in India and provide legislation, but there will always be people against it for various reasons — including religion and anti-gambling campaigners. But the reality is that more than a billion USD is pumped into offshore websites every year from India so regulation appears to be a matter of when, not if.
Customer service at bookies
This is one of the key things you should look out for when signing up at an online betting site, because you don’t want to be caught in a situation where you have a problem (can’t cash out or deposit, or many other issues) and can’t reach the bookie in question. The websites WGL recommends will all have at least one reliable method to reach them, which could be email, live chat or a phone number among other ways.