India needs rational regulations to become a global leader in the gaming industry

The online gaming industry in India was worth nearly 80 billion Indian rupees in 2021, up from 65 billion rupees the previous year. The sector is expected to reach a value of over $5 billion by 2025, indicating a compound annual growth rate of around 15%. The industry will likely witness steady growth due to an increasing appetite for online entertainment among Indians and broadband internet access availability.

The gambling industry in India is a confusing and complex entity whose legal framework has not kept pace with the times. It suffers from several problems, including outdated legislation and a lack of uniformity in the enforcement of laws. One reason the rules are complex is that the country has 27 states, each of which has its laws.

Three laws govern online gaming: the Public Gambling Act of 1867, the Prize Competition Act of 1955, and the Information Technology Act of 2000. Each of the laws governing online gaming was enacted before iGaming emerged in India worldwide as it is today.

Sikkim is the one state in India that has introduced a legal framework for online gambling with its Sikkim Online Gaming Regulations of 2008. Playing in a crypto casino is permitted due to the emergence of this Act. Moreover, the discussion regarding the future of online gaming became political after the Galwan attack – an attack on the Indian army by the Chinese military. In response to the public’s outcry over the Chinese Galwan attack against the Indian Army, the Indian government was forced to restrict access to several Chinese applications, including the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG).

Furthermore, Indian courts have given multiple rulings favoring games of skill. Specifically, In the case of Dr Lakshmanan, the Supreme Court recognized that horse racing, football, chess, rummy, golf, and baseball are games of skill. This ruling set a new precedent in the legal system. However, the status of other forms of sports betting has not been delineated by the Supreme Court of India or a High Court of a state. Therefore, the legality of the sport is currently ambiguous.

The apparent problem with the regulations is that online games of skill are frequently misidentified as gambling. However, they are distinguishable from “betting and gambling” due to the inter-state nature of online gaming platforms. Online gaming comes under the central government’s purview, as it comes under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and its allied rules. Additionally, the gambling industry is subject to a negative stigma. The term is considered a form of bad behavior and is viewed as illegal when viewed through the lens of a bylaw.

Currently, iGaming is not regulated by the government of India. The revenue generated by Indian gamblers is presently going to offshore gambling operators. Moving forward,  players from the country will remain unprotected by their country if the industry is not provided with forward-looking regulations.


iGaming allows policymakers to create evidence-based, forward-looking policies for the digital economy, where gaming is a significant part. This can be accomplished through consultative processes with diverse stakeholders and experts – including gaming companies, technologists, legal professionals, educators, and mental health specialists.

Instead of taking extreme measures such as bans, the Indian government needs to formulate a national-level framework that works effectively under the vigilant eyes of regulators.

Finally, the industry’s expansion and growth are inevitable. The issue that India will face in the future is whether or not it will change its current laws to comply with iGaming. If India can address these issues and update them, the industry’s economic growth will accelerate, promoting a higher return for everyone involved.

Disclaimer: Gambling involves an element of financial risk and may be addictive. Please play responsibly and at your own risk. This post contains material that may or may not be legal in your country. Play subject to applicable law.