India’s online gaming sector


India’s online gaming sector is experiencing rapid growth, attracting attention from policymakers and industry leaders.

  • The Prime Minister’s recent engagement with top gamers highlights the government’s interest in fostering a conducive regulatory environment and leveraging the sector’s potential as part of the Digital India initiative.


GS – 2 GS – 3 – (Government Policies & Interventions, IT & Computers)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • About the Online Gaming Sector
  • India’s Advancements in the Sector
  • Legality of Online Gaming in India
  • Key Takeaways

About the Online Gaming Sector:

  • India’s online gaming industry has witnessed remarkable expansion, with a staggering 28% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between FY20 and FY23.
  • Projections indicate further growth to ₹33,243 crore by FY28, showcasing its potential as a significant contributor to India’s digital economy.
  • The sector not only attracts substantial investments but also generates employment opportunities, aligning with India’s vision for technological advancement.

India’s Advancements in the Sector:

  • India’s Information Technology (IT) strength underpins the growth of its online gaming sector, supported by initiatives like task forces and regulatory frameworks such as the IT Rules of 2021, which offer clarity for startups.
  • The introduction of the Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill, 2022 during Parliament’s Budget session aimed to ensure integrity in online gaming and establish a regulatory framework. Additionally, a MeitY task force has proposed recommendations to regulate the industry.
  • Despite previous attempts by states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka to ban online games, such measures were overturned by state High Courts due to concerns of unfairness to skill-based games.
  • The government of Rajasthan has proposed a draft Bill to regulate online games, particularly fantasy games, reflecting ongoing efforts to address regulatory gaps in the industry.
  • Capitalizing on India’s rich cultural heritage, an increasing number of games draw inspiration from Indian mythology, offering a distinctive appeal to both domestic and international players. Initiatives promoting diversity and female participation further bolster India’s standing in the global gaming arena.

Legality of Online Gaming in India:

  • In India, the legality of online gaming and gambling falls under the jurisdiction of state legislators, as stipulated by Entry No. 34 of List II (State List) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Most states differentiate between ‘games of skill’ and ‘games of chance’ when regulating gaming activities.
  • Currently, the main legislation governing gambling is the outdated Public Gambling Act of 1867, which lacks provisions to address modern challenges such as digital casinos and online gambling.
  • Recently, the Finance Ministry imposed a 28% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on online money gaming, casinos, and horse racing.
  • While lotteries are considered legal under the Lotteries Regulation Act of 1998, they must be organized by state governments, with draws held within the respective states.
  • However, the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) of 1999 prohibits the remittance of income generated from lottery winnings and horse racing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Regulatory Clarity: Despite positive developments, unresolved issues regarding regulatory clarity persist. Effective implementation of self-regulatory mechanisms outlined in the IT Rules of 2021 is essential to ensure industry compliance and foster innovation.
  • Taxation Challenges: Recent revisions in taxation, particularly the imposition of a 28% GST rate on online gaming, pose challenges for startups and raise concerns about the sector’s sustainability. Addressing these taxation issues is crucial to support the industry’s growth and job creation.
  • Cultural Heritage: India’s rich cultural narratives provide a unique advantage for the gaming industry. By tapping into stories and legends from Indian mythology, game developers can cater to diverse audiences and drive innovation.
  • Inclusivity and Diversity: Efforts to encourage the participation of women and promote diversity in the gaming industry are essential for fostering talent and pushing boundaries in the sector.


India’s advancements in the online gaming sector present an opportunity to emerge as a prominent global gaming hub. By addressing regulatory challenges, leveraging cultural heritage, and promoting inclusivity, India can realize its vision of a $1 trillion digital economy and shape the future of gaming on a global scale.