Is It Legal to Play Poker in India?

Online poker becomes more and more popular but at the same time, the legal status of the game is absolutely not clear. There is a question: how legal is it to play poker for real money in India? And how to deal with the won money. Let’s try to understand this question.

Legal Situation of Play Poker in India

First of all, it is an open question whether poker is a game of chance. The element of chance does not make a game gambling if the outcome depends on the player’s skills. Such sports games with an element of chance include bridge, backgammon, poker sequence. Therefore, each state makes its own decision on the status of poker.

At the moment poker in any form is prohibited in the following states:

  • Telangana;
  • Andhra Pradesh;
  • Odisha;
  • Sikkim.

Such states as Tamil Nadu and Assam ban poker online. Poker has legal status throughout the rest of India.

As for winnings, money won on Indian platforms is legal if the latter meets the legal requirements. Thus, the winnings are the player’s income, and the casinos are the tax agent of the gamer.

The above imposes on them the obligation to deduct the tax withheld at source (TDS) from the winnings (if the amount exceeds the legally prescribed nontaxable limit).

If, on the other hand, an Indian citizen plays and wins in foreign establishments, all the tax obligations are imposed on the player. In general, it is required to pay 30% of the winnings as taxes. However, it is necessary to clarify this question in accordance with the legislation of your state.

How to Choose Legal Casino to Play Poker?

How to play Poker in an online gambling establishment? First of all, make sure that poker is legal in your state. Also, do not contact a casino or poker room that does not have a license to organize and conduct gambling activities. This license must be valid in India.

A poker room, claiming to be legal, must necessarily have the RNG certificate. This document ensures that:

  • cards are dealt absolutely randomly using a random number generator;
  • the room cannot transfer players’ poker hands to third parties;
  • the organizer of poker card games cannot change at will or disclose to third parties hidden cards on the table.

Poker game rules should be available for review by all players before the start of the game. Game participants should confirm that they understand how to play poker, that they are familiar with, and agree with the poker rules.

As already mentioned, the establishment that offers poker India is the tax agent of the player. The portal should be ready to provide a certificate of withholding TDS on each winning received in online poker.

Indian law prohibits anonymous gambling. Any poker game organizer who does not require verification of identity by providing photo documents is illegal and you should not deal with them.

It should also be noted that the income of the establishment is the rake – a predeclared percentage of bets made by players. The organizer of poker games cannot charge a fee for entry to the website and joining the table. Additional services may be sold, such as unique avatars. However, their purchase should not be required to start playing. Downloading poker apps should also be completely free. The player plays against other players, not against the establishment. The latter only takes a percentage of the prize pool for organizing the game.

These simple rules will help you choose legal India poker. Play poker and win!