India’s online gaming industry gears up for growth with regulation

India’s gaming giant, stifled by regulations, preps for growth as Modi seeks clear rules, boosting jobs, tech, and the digital economy.

India’s online gaming industry which is the world’s second-largest gamer base, finds itself at a crossroads. Despite its immense potential, the lack of a cohesive regulatory framework has hampered its growth, casting a shadow over investments, talent acquisition, and innovation. However, the Modi government has taken the initiative to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework.

The challenges plaguing the online gaming domain are manifold. The implementation of a new tax framework in late 2023 saw the sector’s GST contribution skyrocket by 400%, translating to a staggering Rs. 1,200 crore per month. Furthermore, the industry employs over one lakh individuals directly and indirectly, a number poised to double within the next five years under a supportive regulatory environment.


The absence of clear-cut regulations creates uncertainty for investors, making them hesitant to pour capital into a market riddled with ambiguities. This, in turn, restricts the industry’s growth potential and hampers job creation. Additionally, the lack of a uniform regulatory framework across different states leads to conflicting interpretations of laws, creating operational hurdles for gaming companies. This inconsistency discourages talent from entering the sector, further impeding its progress.

Recognizing the critical role online gaming can play in India’s journey towards becoming a “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, the Modi government has taken decisive steps towards establishing a regulatory framework. The formation of an “informal Group of Ministers” (GoM) encompassing key ministries like MeitY, MIB, MoF, MHA, and PMO signifies the government’s commitment to a comprehensive and inclusive approach. Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s recent statements emphasizing an open, transparent, and consultative approach further underscore this commitment.

The potential benefits of regulation are manifold. Firstly, it can unlock a significant revenue stream for the government, particularly through the taxation of skill-based real-money games, a major driver of industry income. Secondly, it can create a plethora of job opportunities, with estimates suggesting a potential rise to 250,000 within the next few years. Thirdly, it can act as a catalyst for the growth of ancillary industries like cybersecurity, customer service, digital payments, and marketing, creating a ripple effect throughout the economy.

Furthermore, regulation can foster innovation in key technologies like AI, blockchain, and data analytics, propelling the industry to the forefront of technological advancements. This, in turn, can attract foreign investment and global gaming companies, further accelerating the sector’s growth.

Recent indications suggest a potential shift away from the Skill Regulation Bill (SRB) model, paving the way for a more independent regulatory body akin to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). This centralized model can ensure fair competition, protect consumer interests, and maintain high-quality standards within the industry.