The phenomenal rise in online gambling and gaming in the past years is both a boon and a bane for society. While online gaming leads to generating revenue and creating jobs, it also opens up avenues for many illegal activities, such as money laundering, match fixing, etc. Also, it hugely impacts society’s social thread. The challenge is to balance the needs of society, leveraging technology and regulatory framework in this context. The following article presents the different facets of online gambling and gaming, rapidly rising in India and across the globe. It emphasizes that the State needs to play a more significant role in regulatory and technology controls to contain the social thread of societal norms.


The term “online betting games” refers to various online gambling activities. With these games, players can wager on outcomes related to sports, casino games, and other events. Here are a few well-liked categories of online gambling games:

Sports Betting: You can place bets on the results of various sports activities, including basketball, cricket, football, horse racing, and more. Numerous online sites provide a large selection of betting alternatives and competitive odds.

Classic casino games like slots, roulette, blackjack, poker, and baccarat can be played virtually in an online casino.

Live Betting: Live betting lets one make wagers during a sporting event. As the game progresses, you can respond and modify your wagers.

Virtual Sports: These are simulated sports events where you can bet on virtual teams or players. Computer algorithms determine the outcomes.

E-sports Betting: E-sports involve competitive video gaming. You can bet on professional e-sports tournaments like League of Legends, Counter-Strike, or Dota 2.

Lotteries and scratch cards: Some online platforms offer digital lotteries and scratch cards, allowing you to try your luck for instant wins.

Popular Gaming Platforms

Some of the popular online gaming platforms in India, including fantasy cricket apps and Ludo games, are as follows:

Dream11: With over eight crore users, Dream11 is one of India’s biggest fantasy cricket apps. It allows you to create virtual teams, manage players, and compete for cash prizes.

BalleBaazi: Known for its user-friendly interface, BalleBaazi offers fantasy cricket gaming. It has unique features and legendary cricketer Yuvraj Singh as its brand ambassador.

MyTeam11: This app offers free leagues where players can bet without paying money. It is available in nine languages and has more than 15 million users.

Zupee: It is an online multiplayer gaming app focusing mainly on Ludo and conducting different leagues to get rewards.

Junglee: With over 120 million users, Junglee games include Howzat, Junglee Rummy, Poker, and Carrom Stars.

Ludo India: Play Ludo online against thousands of players and win real cash.

Ludo King: A popular choice for Ludo enthusiasts, Ludo King offers multiplayer gameplay and a nostalgic experience.

Growth of the online gaming industry

India’s online gaming industry has witnessed remarkable growth in the past decade, particularly in the last couple of years. Here are some key statistics:

Number of Online Gamers: 2023 India had approximately 455 million online gamers. Nearly half of India’s internet users (around 433 million out of 846 million) played online games in 2021.

Fantasy sports and eSports: Fantasy sports platforms like Dream11 and the Mobile Premier League (MPL) have captured players’ attention, significantly fueled by cricket tournaments like the T20 World Cup and the Indian Premier League. eSports is also gaining attraction, with an expected expansion in revenue, viewership, and professional players.

Mobile Gaming Dominance: India’s large youth embraces digital entertainment, primarily mobile gaming. While gaming consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox are popular, mobile devices remain the primary choice for Indian gamers. Hypercasual games lead to the preferences of the genre, followed by simulation and action games.

Market value and revenue: India’s gaming industry’s market value exceeded two billion U.S. dollars and is estimated to nearly quadruple by fiscal year 2027. Real-money games contribute significantly to revenue within this sector.

Impact on Indian Economy: The online gaming industry contributes significantly to India’s economy. It is estimated that A.I. and online gaming combined can add up to $300 billion to India’s GDP by 2026–27.

Concerns emerging from online gaming

While online gaming can be entertaining and even have some cognitive benefits, it is essential to be aware of potential negative impacts on youth. Here are some risks associated with excessive gaming:

Physical Strain: Prolonged gaming can lead to repetitive stress injuries (RSIs), such as carpal tunnel syndrome, gamer’s thumb, and tennis elbow. These conditions result from overuse of muscles and tendons.

Vision Problems: Staring at screens for extended periods may contribute to eyestrain, dry eyes, and other vision-related issues.

Sleep deprivation: Excessive gaming can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and circadian rhythm disorders.

Emotional Well-Being: Negative online gaming experiences can impact young gamers’ self-esteem and emotional well-being. Exposure to harmful ideas while gaming is also a concern.

Scams and Bullying: Interacting with others online exposes children and young people to scamming, grooming, and online bullying.

Addiction: While not everyone develops a gaming addiction, it is crucial to monitor gaming habits and recognize signs of excessive play.


Some heartbreaking incidents related to online gambling in India are cited here just to highlight that the emotional threat from online gambling and gaming can no longer be ignored. In Chennai, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, Dhanush, died by suicide in Korukkupet, Chennai, after losing money in online rummy. His family found him dead after he locked himself in his room. In another incident, a 29-year-old woman in Chennai died by suicide after losing all her gold and life savings in online rummy. In yet another incident in Tamil Nadu, A 29-year-old woman in Chennai he was died by suicide after losing all her gold and life savings in online rummy. In Kerala, a 20-year-old boy in Kerala took his own life after losing Rs 5 lakh in online rummy.

These incidents highlight the urgent need for awareness, regulation, and support for those affected by online gambling.

Online gambling and gaming need to be closely regulated

Technology plays a pivotal role in the online betting and gaming ecosystem, with operators leveraging the internet to reach consumers across the country. The use of technology also extends to payment gateways, which are essential for facilitating transactions. However, the lack of clear regulations has led to inconsistency in the enforcement of laws related to online gaming. Different states in India have different interpretations of the Public Gambling Act, and there is no uniformity in the application of the law.

Rules and regulations across the globe

Technology is pivotal in the online betting and gaming ecosystem, with operators leveraging the internet to reach consumers nationwide. Technology also extends to payment gateways, which are essential for facilitating transactions. However, the lack of clear regulations has led to inconsistency in enforcing laws related to online gaming. Different states in India have different interpretations of the Public Gambling Act, and there is no uniformity in the application of the law.

Rules and regulations across the globe

The regulations related to online betting games in different regions are:

Europe: Europe has some of the strictest rules for operators in the iGaming industry. Online gambling is regulated under the Gambling Act 2014 in the European Union (E.U.). Operators must obtain licenses for each market and adhere to laws related to data protection, anti-money laundering, consumer protection, and more.

United States: Online sports betting is legal in many U.S. states, but regulations vary significantly. Each State has its laws and interpretations. For example, Nevada has a long history of legal sports betting, while other states have recently legalized it. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was overturned in 2018, allowing states to regulate sports betting independently.

China: China has stringent regulations against online gambling. The Chinese government prohibits most forms of online betting, including sports betting. They actively block access to foreign gambling websites and enforce strict penalties for illegal gambling activities.

Other Countries: Many countries have their regulations. For instance, Australia, South Africa, and the Republic of Ireland allow online sports betting, while others, like Hong Kong and Macau, have specific rules due to their unique status. It is essential to research each country’s specific laws and requirements.

Rules & Regulations in India

The legal status of online gaming, betting, and gambling in India depends on whether they are considered games of chance or games of skill. Under Indian law, games of skill are generally considered legal, while games of chance are often deemed illegal.

Games of Skill: These games primarily depend on a player’s mental or physical expertise rather than luck. Success in games of skill relies on factors like knowledge, training, attention, experience, and adroitness. Examples include chess, golf, and even rummy.

Games of Chance: In these games, chance predominantly determines the outcome. Luck plays a significant role, and skill has minimal influence. Classic examples are slot machines, roulette, and lotteries.

India’s legal stance on betting and gambling is primarily governed by the Public Gambling Act of 1867, a colonial-era law that prohibits running or overseeing a public gambling house. The ambiguity stems from the fact that gambling and betting fall within the jurisdiction of individual states, leading to a patchwork of regulations across the country.

Some states have taken proactive steps to address this modern phenomenon. For example, Sikkim has enacted legislation to regulate and license online gaming and betting, allowing players from this State to participate legally. These laws provide a legal framework for operators to offer services within these states, subject to stringent regulations and oversight.

On the other hand, states like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have amended their gaming acts to include online gambling, making any form of gambling, including online betting, illegal within their territories. This disparity in state laws creates a fragmented legal environment, complicating operator compliance and consumer access.

The Central Government has allowed states to take the lead in regulating or banning online betting. However, there have been calls for a unified regulatory framework to address the challenges posed by the digital nature of online betting, which transcends state boundaries. At the central level, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) has released draft amendments to the I.T. (Intermediary et al. Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (I.T. Rules) about online gaming for public consultations.

The Law Commission of India, in its 2018 report, recommended regulating gambling and betting activities, suggesting that a legal framework could include safeguards to protect against problem gambling, ensure the integrity of sports, and generate tax revenues. However, legislative action at the national level has yet to cover a long distance to fill the regulatory gaps in order to safeguard the industry, individuals, and society from the ills and uncertainties of online gambling and gaming.

While the State is being looked upon as the saviour of any kind of threats to the security and peace of society, self-regulation by gamers or individuals is the first and the most effective way of balancing the addiction to gaming and monetary and psychological security. ‘Responsible gambling’ is the key. Even here, the State has a role to play.

Responsible gambling, also known as safer gambling, encompasses a set of social responsibility initiatives held by the gambling industry. These initiatives involve government regulators, operators, and vendors. Their primary goals are to ensure the integrity of gambling operations and promote awareness of the harms associated with gambling, such as gambling addiction. Here are some key aspects of responsible gambling:

Gambling Addiction Awareness: Responsible gambling initiatives include commitments to promoting awareness of gambling addiction. Operators provide tools for players to manage their play, such as customer-imposed limits and self-exclusion schemes.

In the United Kingdom, significant banks even offer customers the option to block gambling-related transactions on their credit cards. The U.K. has also imposed bet limits on fixed-odds betting terminals to control the gambling addiction associated with them.

Tools for Responsible Gambling: Placing self-checks while gambling or gaming can also help gamers. Some of the tools could be –

  • Self Exclusion/Time Out: Temporarily pause an account.
  • Reality Check: Reminders to Take Breaks During Play.
  • Time Limits: Set strict time limits for playing sessions.
  • Deposit Limits/Account Tracker: Enforce deposit limits.
  • Credit Card Restrictions: Block access to internet transactions.
  • Activity Statements: Regular statements show gambling expenditure, wins, and losses.
  • Anonymous Play: Gamble privately and discreetly.
  • Social Interaction Monitoring: Operators analyze interactions for signs of excessive gambling.
  • Gambling Education and Information: Platforms offer resources on responsible gambling.
  • Permanent Account Closure: Close accounts altogether.

Looking Ahead

It is critical to create a balance between consumer protection, revenue growth, and responsible gambling and gaming, even while India struggles with legal difficulties. Legislators need to act quickly to establish a comprehensive national framework to guarantee an equitable and transparent online betting ecosystem.

In conclusion, legal threads weave a complex tapestry that directs the continued evolution of online gaming and betting in India. Our legal system must change with technology to keep up with this ever-changing environment. Some of the aspects the regulators may consider including in the proposed regulations could be –

1. Gaming platforms must register with Meity and abide by the Code of Ethics.

2. Online gaming platforms will need to get a current license or authorization from the relevant authority

3. Online gaming platforms will have to verify the age and identity of their users through a know-your-customer (KYC) process and ensure that no child is allowed to access or play games for money or other stakes.

4. Online gaming platforms must prevent addiction, fraud, money laundering, cheating, etc., among their users and report any suspicious or unlawful activity to the relevant authorities.

Apart from the legal support and protection, the State may look to create a robust database to record the activities and transactions and mediums such as platforms and the persons behind and user base, and a continuous monitoring system for that so that any deviation from routine activities on such platform(s) will highlight the need to act.

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