The Indian online gaming industry, a booming sector with a massive user base, is currently facing a pivotal moment as it seeks clear and comprehensive regulations under the new National Broadcast Policy (NBP). Stakeholders in the industry have voiced significant concerns about user safety and the need for a well-defined regulatory framework during a recent open house organized by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).


According to industry reports, the Indian online gaming community boasted 42.559 crore gamers in FY 2023, making it the second largest in the world after China. From FY20 to FY23, the online gaming segment in India experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28%, reaching a market size of Rs 16,428 crore in FY23. Projections suggest that this market will grow to Rs 33,243 crore by FY28, at a 15% CAGR. This rapid growth underscores the need for robust regulations to sustain momentum and ensure a safe gaming environment.

Calls for Regulatory Clarity and User Safety

In an open meeting held on May 15, stakeholders highlighted the urgent need for regulatory clarity. Varun Ramdas of Koan Advisory emphasized the delay in implementing self-regulatory organizations (SROs) by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). He argued for temporary measures to address current gaps and stressed the importance of distinguishing between legal gaming operators and those involved in illegal betting and gambling activities.

Shreya Pandey from Primus Partners India echoed similar concerns, pointing out the necessity of clear distinctions between permissible and non-permissible online real money games in advertisements. Without SROs, such distinctions remain challenging, which complicates regulatory enforcement and user protection.

Advocating for Visible Verification and Safe Gaming

A key issue raised during the discussions was the lack of visible verification for safe and trusted gaming platforms. The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) highlighted that users currently struggle to identify safe, legal gaming options. The federation advocated for visible marks on platforms to help users distinguish between legal and illegal gaming services. Additionally, they emphasized the need for laws that not only regulate but also support the domestic gaming sector, particularly emerging Indian game developers.

Avoiding Regulatory Overlap

The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) cautioned against regulatory overlap between the IT Rules and the National Broadcast Policy. In their written submission to TRAI, FIFS noted that the amended IT Rules were formulated after extensive stakeholder consultations and are designed to create an open, safe, transparent, and accountable online gaming environment. They argued that MeitY is best positioned to govern and regulate the online gaming industry effectively under these rules.

FIFS recommended the operationalization of the amended IT Rules in harmony with other regulatory measures to enhance user safety, transparency, disclosure, and integrity in online gaming. They also suggested adopting a regulatory model similar to the three-tier framework used for Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, which would require all online gaming intermediaries to register with MeitY or another appropriate regulatory body.

The Path Forward for the Indian Industry

The Indian gaming industry’s rapid growth and its significant user base underscore the urgent need for a coherent regulatory framework. Stakeholders have highlighted several critical areas that need attention:

  1. Implementation of SROs: The establishment of self-regulatory organizations is crucial for maintaining industry standards and ensuring compliance with regulations.
  2. Distinguishing Legal and Illegal Gaming: Clear distinctions between legal operators and those involved in illegal activities are essential for protecting users and maintaining market integrity.
  3. Visible Verification for Safe Platforms: Implementing a system for visibly marking safe and trusted platforms will help users make informed choices.
  4. Avoiding Regulatory Overlap: Harmonizing the National Broadcast Policy with the existing IT Rules will prevent confusion and ensure a streamlined regulatory environment.
  5. Supporting Domestic Developers: Providing support and incentives for Indian game developers will foster innovation and growth within the domestic industry.


The Indian industry stands at a crossroads where clear and comprehensive regulations are essential for sustaining growth and ensuring user safety. As the government formulates the new National Broadcast Policy, it is imperative to address the concerns raised by industry stakeholders. By implementing robust regulatory measures, distinguishing legal from illegal operators, and supporting domestic developers, India can continue to thrive as a major player in the global online gaming market. The collaboration between regulatory bodies and industry stakeholders will be key to achieving these goals and maintaining the industry’s upward trajectory.

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