Betting Online in India

indiaOnline betting is very popular in India. It is widely quoted that our market is worth Rs. 3 lakh crore annually and that 40% of Indian internet users visit gambling sites. One of the reasons it is so popular is because we only have legal bookies for horse racing. This leaves a void as cricket betting is an obsession here. Many also enjoy betting football, Formula 1, tennis, field hockey and other sports. The only way to do so semi-legally is using foreign online bookmakers. This is the topic I discuss in this article.

Rupee Betting Sites

As with every type of web based business, not all online bookmakers are the same; each has different betting interfaces, markets, odds and features. There are also differences in where companies are licensed. It is very important when choosing a bookie to select an international one that services Indian punters, and has plenty of odds on cricket and other sports.

The two websites below are the top two options available. They support multiple currencies including Indian Rupee (INR) and offer betting odds for the Indian Premier League (IPL), many other cricket leagues and tournaments, and on most other sports.

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www.dafabet.com is a massive subsidiary of Asian Logic. This parent company, under the brand name Mega Sports World, has more betting shops in the Philippines than any other company. The Dafabet website is used to offer betting, casino and poker to many countries including ours. This is the easiest gambling site to use. They accept deposits via online banking or domestic wire transfer (done at a local bank branch) to their Indian bank account. Payouts are made using the same method.

www.bet365.com is the world’s largest online bookmaker and owns the English Premier League (EPL) franchise Stoke City. They started in 1974 with UK betting shops branded as Provincial Racing. In 2005, they sold these shops to Coral for £40 million and since then have focused only on internet betting. This is the best option for online cricket betting in India. The difficulty with using Bet365 here, is that in order to deposit you will need to use an e-wallet which is slightly more complicated than using online banking. This is discussed in the next section.

Making Deposits

I’ve started to discuss the need for making deposits already in this article. Internet bookies do not offer credit to customers, so to bet online you need to first deposit money into your account. You can only bet the money that is in your account balance. So if you deposit Rs.6000 you can only make wagers up to Rs.6000 in value.

If your account balance is Rs.6,000 and you stake Rs.2,000 on Chennai Super Kings to win an IPL cricket match your balance immediately becomes Rs. 4,000. If your bet loses, nothing else happens. If it wins the Rs. 2,000 is returned to your account balance and the winnings from that bet are added too.

The process of betting online starts with funding an account. Your account balance can then grow if you win making bets. Anytime you want to cash out all or part of your balance this can be done in the betting sites’ online cashier. Most sites pay by direct bank transfer to your Indian bank account.

As far as deposits go, DafaBet is easy because they accept local bank transfer. To use Bet365 or other sites, EntroPay is the easiest option.

Using EntroPay

www.entropay.com is a website service that Indians can use to deposit to online bookies. To get started, you first need to open an account at their website. Once this is done, you will be issued a virtual VISA card number. You can deposit money into your EntroPay account using any debit card with a VISA, MasterCard or Maestro logo on it (note: debit cards from Indian banks work fine). Once your account is loaded, visit the cashier section of the site you’re betting at and select EntroPay as your deposit method.

bet365 entropay deposit screen india

This screenshot shows how to select Entropay as your deposit option in the Bet365 cashier

Some important tips:

  • 3d-Secure Code is Required – When depositing to EntroPay there is an option to use a 3D-Secure Code service. For VISA cards this is Verified by Visa. For MasterCard and Maestro it is MasterCard Secure Code. While using 3D-Secure Code service appears optional, for most it is a requirement. Indian debit cards are generally not set up for international payments until you register for one of these services. This is easy to do and you will likely be shown online instructions when attempting to fund EntroPay. If not, search Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code along with your banks name at google.co.in to find registration instructions.
  • Trick for Using Maestro Cards – Many Indians have trouble using SBI debit cards with a Maestro Logo. This is because some cards do not have an expiration date or CVC code. When this is the case add 5 years and 8 months to the card issue date and this is the expiration date to use at EntroPay. For the CVC Code (the 3-digit code) use the last 3 digits of your card number. These two tricks work not only with SBI but also with several other Indian banks.
  • Temporally Restricted Accounts – It is very common for EntroPay to temporarily suspend accounts and ask for documents. When this happens, do not panic! This is a routine procedure that is for fraud prevention. All you need to do is send them a copy of a utility bill, funding source, and ID. They might also ask which merchant you intend to spend with. For this it is okay to say the name of a gambling site. They are based in the UK where gambling is fully legal.

Understand EntroPay is expensive to use as there is a 4.9% load fee. It is however the easiest way to fund a Bet365 account in a hurry. There are other e-wallets that Indians can use.

Other E-wallets

One of the best EntroPay alternatives is www.skrill.com (also called MoneyBookers). Nearly all gambling sites accept this e-wallet. Unfortunately, RBI restrictions and UK regulations make this a hassle to set up. It can still be done. I have written a guide that explains how to use Skrill in India that is worth a read if you get stuck.

Other e-wallets Indians can use include WebMoney (wmtransfer.com) and NETELLER (www.neteller.com). I mention these only for your own research. For now I will move on in this article by covering the dynamics of sports betting and then conclude by touching on the betting laws of India.

The Dynamics of Sports Betting

First let me make clear that Dafabet is a gambling company focused on Asia. Their website is one of the best for betting football and basketball. Because they have a large number of Indian clients, they offer odds on IPL cricket and some other leagues and tournaments, but do not offer cricket spot bets.

Bet365 on the other hand is a global company. They have odds on every sport and league from all over the world. This means they have odds on FAR more cricket fixtures with each having lots of prop and spot bets both pre-match and in-play. Some of the examples covered in this section apply only to Bet365.

2013 ipl cricket

The IPL is the most bet on sporting event in India with millions being bet on each game

Understand Betting Odds

Online bookies support many different odds formats. No matter which you use the payouts are the same. This is done simply for the reason that betting developed independently around the world, and thus different locations use different odds formats. Decimal betting odds are the most universal format. This is the format to use if you are new to online betting and need to make a choice.

Decimal odds are very easy to understand. The odds shown are how much money will be returned for each rupee staked. Take the case of an IPL match where the odds are:

Delhi Daredevils 1.55
Sunrisers Hyderabad 2.49

This means however much you stake on Delhi Daredevils will return 1.55 times on a win. So if you stake Rs. 3,000 the payout is Rs. 3000*1.55= a return of Rs. 4650. Of that Rs. 3,000 was the return of stake and Rs. 1650 was profit. Notice that if betting Sunrisers Hyderabad you would get a big return. This is because in this match the odds makers have made them the underdog feeling they are less likely to win.

Cricket Betting Markets

Besides match winner there are many other options for betting cricket. At both Dafabet and Bet365 you can find the following markets on the Indian Premier League.

  • Match Winner – This is simply a wager on which team will win the match.
  • Most Sixes – This is a wager on which team will have the most sixes in a cricket match.
  • Most Runs – This wager pairs different popular players together head to head. You make a wager on which of those players will have the most runs in the match.

You can also find future markets for betting on the winners of tournaments or leagues. In cricket, some of the most popular future bets are made by choosing who you think will win the IPL, Cricket World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy or any other major competitions.

As far as betting on individual matches, there are dozens more markets available at Bet365. This includes the team to win the toss, top team batsman, highest opening partnership, most match sixes, team to make highest score in the first 6 overs, 1st over total runs, whether a 50 will be scored in the match (and the same for a 100), 1st wicket method, runs at the fall of 1st wicket, most run outs and many player specific prop bets.

Bet365 also has live in-play betting with alot of these markets plus many additional ones. The number of spot bets they offer on all cricket matches (not just IPL) is better than any other betting site.

Betting on Other Sports

When it comes to football betting both Dafabet and Bet365 are ideal. Dafabet is known for offering the best odds on Asian handicaps. Bet365 has the most markets, and also has live-in play betting and live streams of many matches. For most other sports popular in India, Bet365 is best. This is a great site for betting tennis, field hockey, Formula 1, rugby, golf, boxing, snooker etc. With this now covered let me touch on Indian Betting Laws.

Is Online Betting Legal in India?

In India our gambling laws are difficult to understand, and this is sometimes true even for legal professionals. The primary law that makes gambling a crime is the Public Gambling Act of 1867. At the player level the penalty is a small Rs. 100 fine and up to 1 month in prison. Before you panic, my personal observation is that this law is rarely enforced at the player level.

The Central Lotteries (Regulation) Act of 1998 is an example of law confusion. This is a Central Government law that exempts state approved lotteries from punishment under the Public Gambling Act so long as the lotto is not drawn more often than once a week. This law is ignored in 13 states that have multiple draws daily because they disagree with its validity. Their argument is that the Constitution of India (Seventh Schedule Entry 34 List II) clearly gives each state the right to create its own gambling laws.

As you can, see this is a confusing topic. However, sports betting law is somewhat clearer. The only state this is legal in is Sikkim. In a few Indian states there are stricter laws against it, and in all others the Public Gambling Act of 1867 applies, but is rarely ever enforced at the player level.

The confusion however doesn’t end here. The Public Gambling Act is nearly 150 years old and dates back to the time of British rule. It of course doesn’t specifically mention the internet. Companies such as Bet365 and Dafabet are legal and licensed in the countries from which they operate. The police here have no jurisdiction over these websites, so are not overly concerned with them.

All this said, please understand I am not a lawyer and nothing in this article should be considered legal advice. All I can report is what I mention in the intro. It is widely quoted that our online betting market is worth Rs. 3 lakh crore per year and that 40% of Indian internet users have used online gambling sites. While not 100% risk free, it’s something you should have no issues with.