Bet Cricket and Sports with Online Bookies in Indian Rupee (INR)
Indians are prohibited from gambling at sports betting sites due to the Public Gambling Act which as of 2019 was written 152 years ago. When it comes to sports betting the penalty for being caught using a local bookie is a tiny Rs. 100 fine, but also potentially up to one month in prison. Luckily for us, there are over a dozen highly legitimate online betting sites, located outside of India, that are more than happy to take our bets. It should be noted, to date, no Indian has ever been arrested for using offshore online bookies from the privacy of their own home internet connection.
Online Bookies for India
www.bet365.com is a personal favorite of our writing staff living in India. They were one of the first websites we knew of to offer an option to open an online betting account in Indian Rupee (INR) currency. We have used them to bet Champions League and IPL cricket, EPL, La Liga and i-League football, Formula 1, field hockey, tennis, rugby, boxing and sports from all over the globe.
Although there are now dozens of other betting companies offering INR betting accounts, most are not reputable. If you are looking for options beyond Bet365 we suggest sticking to industry leaders that are licensed, regulated and have a great reputation. If Indian rupee is not available as a currency option, open an account in Euro (EUR). Our chief editor (Prop) has added information on additional bookies to consider, later in this article.
How to Use Betting Sites from India
Online betting sites work on a post-up basis. You can only wager using money from your account balance. When you place a bet the money is taken from your account balance. If the bet wins that money is returned to your account balance and the winnings are added to. You can withdrawal all or part of your account balance at any time.
Each betting site has a cashier with various deposit and withdrawal options. It is best to first look at the cashier to see if there is a deposit method you are already familiar with. Be advised that many websites claim to accept credit and debit cards, but not all cards for India will work. There is a very high rate of the card getting declined even though you have money on the account. This is why setting up e-wallets is advisable.
NETELLER in India
www.neteller.com is the most famous e-wallet used that can be used in India. They are a UK company licensed by their government’s Financial Service Authority (FSA) to act just like an internet bank account. It is possible to open an account in many currencies including Indian Rupee. Nearly every online gambling site offers NETELLER in their cashier as both a method to deposit and to withdrawal. You can use this just like an online bank account.
Getting money out of NETELLER is easy. They offer bank transfer withdrawals to any bank in the world, and have other options available too. The challenge is more on how to first add money to NETELLER. For this you might need to use something like bitcoin to deposit. You can read about this in the funding section of your NETELLER account. Bitcoins can be purchased using IMPS Bank Transfer from private sellers advertising on Local Bitcoins. That website acts as an escrow making it a safe way to purchase bitcoin online from India.
Using Skrill in India
Those serious about online betting might wish to have multiple e-wallets. The next I suggest setting up is www.skrill.com which has lower fees. Verifying a Skrill account from India can be a moderate hassle so I suggest reading my article on Skrill India for detailed instructions and advice. The good news is once you go through the verification process (often takes one week or more) you’ll be set up to easily transfer money to any sports betting site.
Understand Betting Odds
When dealing with online bookies there are several different odds formats available to bet with including European Odds, American Odds, Fractional odds, Indonesian, Malay or Hong Kong odds etc. Understand that the payouts are the same no matter which odds format chosen and at most sites you can change how the odds are displayed. If you can’t, you can see odds you’re familiar with using my odds converter. If you’re new to sports betting, the odds format you should select is European odds. This is for reason that European odds are the most popular and not all betting sites offer odds in the other formats. Getting in the habit of using European odds at the start will mean less confusion should you change betting sites in the future.
To explain how these work: European odds are always listed as a positive number with 2, 3 or 4 decimals. The odds listed represent how much a winning ticket will payout for each unit wagered. So for example if you wager Rs. 300 on odds 1.91 and win your return will be 300×1.91= Rs. 573. Note that this return includes your initial Rs. 300 stake, so the profit is Rs. 273. If you’re betting on a team or player highly likely to win (a large favourite) the odds will be a small number (example 1.21) if you’re betting a team very unlikely to win (a considerable underdog) the odds will be a larger number maybe 4.23. No matter what the size the odds are your return will be “stake*odds=return” (and that return includes your initial stake).
Importance of Shopping the Odds
Even a recreational bettor is well advised to use multiple online betting sites. This allows you to compare odds between the bookies and only bet at the one with the highest payouts. As mentioned, our staff prefers Bet365 because they offer accounts in Indian Rupee (INR). There are other reputable betting sites Indians might use choosing GBP, EUR, or USD as their account currency. You can still fund these accounts using your rupee Skrill or Neteller e-wallet; either company will complete the currency exchange on your behalf for a reasonable fee.
Additional Betting Sites to Consider
Betfair.com – Betfair is the world’s largest peer to peer betting exchange and very friendly to Indians, you can learn more about them in our Betfair review. They offer betting on Indian Premier League, and all sorts of sports from all over the globe. The only missing feature here is i-league football betting.
PinnacleSports.com – If you bet football and like to shop the odds this is a MUST HAVE betting account. Pinnacle operates on much smaller margins than their competitors. The only downside is that while they are best for European football and American sports, their cricket coverage is only just now starting to improve.
188Bet.com – If you enjoy live betting on football matches this is a must have account. This is the best Asian Bookie for Indians. They offer live betting on all the major football competitions from around the globe including EPL, and also offer it on leagues less popular internationally such as i-league, Chinese Super League etc. They are however in our opinion not the best for cricket.
Do I have to Pay Tax on Winnings?
This is a bit of tricky question and it would be best to consult with a tax advisor and lawyer. Under Indian law Section 115BB of the Income Tax Act any lottery, card game, horse racing or other gambling winnings are taxed at 30%. Where it gets tricky is there are massive penalties if the gambling profits came from abroad and were remitted into India. Technically, abroad is the only place Indians can bet sports online without fear of legal consequences. What many Indians do is set up a small freelance business (think website designer, content writer, consultant, etc.) with its own website and then list Skrill as their payment method. From here they account all funding of Skrill as an expense and all withdrawals from Skill as revenue, basically masking their gambling as small business transactions. While this isn’t legal it is fairly common practice.
Smaller gamblers – mostly those winning less than Rs. 3 Lakh rupees per year – often don’t report gambling winnings and this goes largely unnoticed. What these guys participating in cricket betting India do is limit the number of transactions going to and from their home bank account. They use an e-wallet such as NETELLER and Skrill to store their money and freely move it between betting sites. They then just withdrawal to their bank in small increments of less than Rs 40000 every 2 or 3 months. This is extremely common; most Indians don’t pay tax when they are recreational gamblers even though they are supposed to. In the rare event questions come up, they’ll often claim this was a gift, donation or something else. Which does fit the story line as Skrill is a common money transfer system between friends.
Again we’re not legal experts, nor tax experts. It best you check with experts in own area to understand what the risks are. Our very limited understanding is that many of those who do pay taxes do so by running their betting through a small business they set up on the side, while many others simply don’t pay tax and call the payments, loans or something else. The reason they’re able to get away with this is the betting sites are located outside of India and don’t have any communication with Indian authorities.
We will soon add content this year about using bitcoin to gamble in India. As EntroPay in India is no longer an option, bitcoin likely will become popular now.