Gambling is considered legal in India. There are actually six legal gambling facilities currently spread out in five cities of India. These include casinos and pari-mutuel. However, only casinos and casino-cruises are considered the legal types of gambling.
Salcette accommodates the most number of casinos in India with two casino facilities and four slot machines. India’s biggest casino is the Winners Casino and Hacienda de Ora in Altomonte Margao. The casino features 150 slot machines and other video gaming machines.
India’s popular gambling game is the Teen Pathi or three cards similar to the Three Card Brag of Great Britain. Also known as flush, this card game uses a 52-card pack and can be played by four to seven players. The player with the best three card hand wins (three aces are the best). Players usually place a minimum bet in a pot and once all players have been dealt three cards, they bet on who has the best hand. They can look first at their hand or what is called “playing seen” or leave their cards face down termed “playing blind.”
The traditional Ganjifa cards, meanwhile, are used in the gambling game Naqsh which can also be played with the standard cards. Ganjifa is a trick-making game.
India’s other card games include Twenty-nine played by using a 32 card pack, Twenty-eight and Fifty-six, Sip and its own version of Rummy. Four players are usually involved in 29 in fixed partnerships. The aim is to win tricks containing valuable cards. Cards are assigned certain points – Jacks have 3 points each, nines have 2 points, aces and tens have one point each.
Poker is also a famous gambling game in India. In fact, the Asian Poker Classic (APC) will be held in Goa, India this year, the first professional poker tournament to take place in the country with a $1 million grand prize at stake.
Betting on horses is also a popular form in gambling in India especially during the Diwali (New Year) festivities. The Diwali festival is a famous time for gambling in India. It is believed that the goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva at Diwali and had a great time. She then declared that all those who engaged in gambling on Diwali night will have a prosperous year.
Indians love to bet on the cricket game as well although it is actually illegal. Some $1.5 billion was reportedly wagered on one match alone during the last ICC Cricket World Cup. Being illegal, the bets are normally made by word of mouth and are based on trust. The bets are listed on a notebook of a bookie and money only changes hands after the match. The notebook is then destroyed.