Matka in any form is illegal in India if money or material things are staked. It is a game of chance. According to the Public Gambling Act of 1867, organizing Matka or playing it in public is a criminal offense punishable by a fine or a jail term, or both.

Individual States and Union Territories in India have the authority to legalize Matka because gambling, in general, is a State subject. However, no State has lifted the ban on this lottery-based betting game, keeping in mind the dangers it and other single-digit lotteries pose to society and the economy.

Even Maharashtra, the State where Matka originated, has not openly legalized it. The nationwide ban is also in effect in Goa, Sikkim, and Daman – India's legalized casino gambling hotspots. Matka fans, on the other hand, have discovered alternatives on international lottery sites online.

These websites serve as entry points to popular international lotteries, which are otherwise difficult to enter. Some even run their own Matka-style online lotteries. Because the sites are run by foreign operators, playing them is legal. They are unaffected by Indian gambling and betting laws.

The best international Matka site in India is Jungliwin.

What Is the Public Gambling Act’s Stance on Matka Gambling?

The Public Gambling Act’s stance on Matka gambling can be summarized in the following pointers:

  • In India, Matka is an illegal form of gambling.
  • It is a crime to own, set up, manage, or visit a public gambling house that hosts Matka (locally known as a Matka den).
  • A public gambling house can be anything from walled enclosures to makeshift rooms to open spaces on the streets.
  • The presence of playing cards, dices, tables, and other gaming instruments in such establishments that serves commercial gains to the owner is illegal.
  • Accepting a bet, betting money or material things, and even keeping records of the bets in a game of Matka is a crime.
  • Online Matka betting is not illegal because words like ‘online,' ‘web,' and ‘internet' are not mentioned in the Act.

What Is the Penalty in India for Organizing and Playing Matka?

The penalty for organizing Matka in India is a fine of ₹200 or a jail term of up to 3 months or both, according to the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860). The penalty for betting money or material things on Matka, on the other hand, is a fine of ₹100 or a jail term of up to one month, or both.

How Are Indian Matka Bookies Still Operating?

Although Matka has been outlawed in India, the ban has not been very effective. Matka bookies continue to illegally operate right under the nose of the law. Several arrests have been made over the years.

However, due to a lack of solid evidence, the offender is usually released. Furthermore, because the monetary fine and jail term are insignificant, the fear of breaking the law is not deeply instilled in the wrongdoers.

Are Indian Matka Sites Legit?

Even if the Public Gambling Act does not specifically deem online Matka illegal, any Matka site set up by a resident in India is still illegal. Such sites are classified as ‘public gambling houses.' It is a crime to own, manage, visit, and bet or accept bets through them.

Such Matka sites, however, should not be confused with international lottery sites that offer Matka games. The latter is legal because, due to their foreign location, they are not subject to the Public Gambling Act.

Are International Matka Sites Legit?

International Matka sites are legal due to a provision in the Public Gambling Act that does not expressly ban online Matka. Furthermore, their international origin keeps them out of the context of Indian gambling laws.

You may also want to read: Is online lottery legal in India?

Several States have now actively taken steps to close this loophole by enacting special laws that ban all forms of online gambling, including Matka.

Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu are among these States. West Bengal can also be included because it has prohibited all forms of online lotteries, both Indian and international.

It is technically illegal to play Matka online in these states, regardless of the site. The websites that host the game are not restricted. Visiting and playing on them, on the other hand, is considered a crime.

Surprisingly, despite the ban, individual players actively access such sites due to the fact that IPs are not tracked.

How Can I Find Legitimate Matka Sites Online?

No Indian Matka site owner would ever reveal their identity due to the legal ramifications. The identities of the domain owners would almost certainly be concealed. However, this isn't conclusive evidence that a particular Matka site is illegal.

Look for the following cues to identify a legal online Matka site:

  • A valid license issued by a reputable regulatory authority
  • Information about the company's registration
  • An up-to-date website that is mobile-responsive
  • Use of SSL encryption to protect all communications from unauthorized third-party access
  • Privacy policy to protect all personal and financial information of players
  • Clear terms and conditions for bonuses and payment
  • Support for popular payment methods
  • Functional and prompt customer service
  • No phony claims of paying the full Matka rate
  • Winner stories

What Are the Legal Alternatives to Online Matka Gambling?

There are two legal alternatives to online Matka gambling:

Government Lotteries in India

If you enjoy lotteries but want to try something other than online Matka, try the Government Lotteries in India. 13 of the 29 states and 7 union territories currently operate government-approved lotteries.

The only way to participate in them, however, is to buy physical paper lottery tickets from authorized sellers. They cannot be played online.

Furthermore, if you do not live in one of the states that have legal lotteries, you will most likely be unable to participate. That’s a bummer, isn’t it?

International Lotteries

If you're determined to play the lottery online but don't want to limit yourself to Matka, international lotteries may be the way to go.

Some of the world's most popular lotteries, such as the US Powerball, EuroMillions, EuroJackpot, Mega-Sena, SuperEnaLotto, and Oz Lotto, are hosted on international lottery sites that accept Indian players.

You don’t have to hide from the law to play them. Official tickets and entries are available online, allowing you to take part from the comfort of your own home.

Furthermore, the prizes are larger and better than those offered by state lotteries in India. The best part is that you can participate in these lotteries from anywhere in the country.

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Why Is Matka Illegal in India?

Matka, as a single-digit lottery, is a fast-paced lottery game that can become extremely addictive. Players could lose too much money in too less time. This, in turn, could lead to frustration and poverty, both of which pose a threat to India's society and economy. Check out our in-depth article on Matka gambling to learn more.

Would It Be Legalized in the Near Future?

There is a good chance that Matka will be legalized in the near future. After all, the lottery has a massive fan base. However, it is possible that Matka will only be legalized in certain Government-approved centers.

The betting amount and the number of transactions can both be limited or pre-determined. To ensure fair play, all Matka operations could be closely monitored. In addition, there may be a GST on the ticket price and a tax on winnings. Who knows, organizers and participants may be asked to provide their AADHAAR and PAN numbers as well!

Is There Any Legal Matka App?

Any Matka app developed by an Indian for an Indian should be considered illegal. The only legit Matka apps are those offered by the operators of international lottery and Matka sites. One such app is that of Lottoland, a lottery betting site running its own Matka game – Jhatka Matka.