Legal Compliance Checklist for Registering a Gaming Company in India

legal compliance checklist for registering a gaming company in india

How to register a gaming company in India? The process involves several key legal steps. First, identify whether your platform is skill-based or chance-based, as this determines the applicable legal framework. Compliance with the Information Technology Act, 2000 and guidelines from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is necessary. Obtaining the required state-specific licenses is also important due to differing state regulations.

Protecting intellectual property through trademark and copyright registrations is essential, as is ensuring data privacy under the Personal Data Protection Bill. Adhering to advertising standards set by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) and complying with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) are also mandatory. If foreign investments are involved, consider the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) . Addressing these legal aspects ensures a compliant and robust foundation for your gaming company in India.

Understanding the Gaming Landscape

The gaming industry in India is primarily divided into skill-based and chance-based platforms, each subject to distinct legal frameworks. Skill-based games, such as fantasy sports and rummy, rely on players’ abilities and strategic thinking. These games are generally considered legal across most states. In contrast, chance-based games, including lotteries and casino games, depend predominantly on luck and are heavily regulated, with many states imposing strict prohibitions.

For skill-based gaming companies, the primary legal compliance requirements include adhering to the Public Gambling Act, 1867, which exempts skill games from its purview. Additionally, companies must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000, and guidelines from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to ensure proper operation and data security.

Chance-based gaming platforms face more stringent regulations under state-specific laws, which often ban or restrict their operation. These companies must navigate complex legal landscapes, including obtaining specific licenses and ensuring adherence to anti-money laundering laws under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

In both cases, protecting intellectual property, ensuring data privacy under the Personal Data Protection Bill, and complying with advertising standards set by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) are critical steps to establish a legally compliant gaming company in India.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance for Gaming Companies in India

Overview of the Information Technology Act, 2000

The Information Technology Act, 2000, serves as the cornerstone for regulating digital activities in India, including the operations of gaming companies. This act primarily aims to ensure secure electronic transactions and addresses issues like cybercrime, electronic commerce and data protection. For gaming companies, compliance with this act involves implementing robust cybersecurity measures, ensuring the authenticity and integrity of digital transactions, and protecting user data from unauthorized access and breaches.

Guidelines from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) provides specific guidelines to ensure that gaming companies operate within a legal framework that promotes responsible gaming and protects users. These guidelines mandate strict adherence to data privacy norms, emphasizing the importance of transparency in data collection and usage. Gaming companies must implement age verification processes to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate content. By following the regulations laid-down in the guidelines, companies can achieve legal compliance and foster a safer gaming environment.

The Public Gambling Act, 1867

The Public Gambling Act, 1867, serves as the primary regulatory mechanism governing the operation of gambling establishments and the conduct of gaming activities across the country. It explicitly prohibits the operation or management of common gaming houses, including physical venues where gambling activities take place and extends this prohibition to the setting up of both physical and digital gambling establishments.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, is a crucial piece of legislation that gaming companies in India must comply with to prevent illicit financial activities. The PMLA aims to combat money laundering and impose certain obligations on financial institutions, intermediaries and entities involved in financial transactions, including gaming companies. Compliance with the PMLA requires companies to maintain detailed records of transactions, perform customer due diligence (CDD) and report suspicious activities to the Financial Intelligence Unit-India (FIU-IND). Failure to adhere to these requirements can result in significant penalties and legal consequences, making it imperative for gaming companies to implement robust anti-money laundering (AML) measures.

To ensure compliance with the PMLA and prevent illicit financial activities, gaming companies should undertake several critical steps. Firstly, they must establish a comprehensive Anti Money Laundering (AML) Policy that outlines the procedures for detecting and reporting suspicious transactions. This includes conducting thorough CDD to verify the identity of customers, particularly for high-value transactions. Implementing advanced technological solutions such as transaction monitoring systems can help identify unusual patterns that may indicate money laundering. Regular training programs for employees on AML regulations and practices are also essential to ensure that staff can recognize and appropriately handle suspicious activities. Additionally, maintaining detailed transaction records and promptly reporting any suspicious activity to the FIU-IND are vital components of an effective AML strategy. By integrating these steps, gaming companies can significantly reduce the risk of money laundering and ensure they meet all legal compliance requirements.

State-Specific Licensing

Registering a gaming company in India necessitates securing licenses from state authorities, as each state has its own set of regulations governing gaming and gambling activities. This compliance is essential to legally operate within a state and avoid any legal ramifications. Licenses ensure that gaming companies adhere to local laws, which can vary significantly from state to state.

Variations in Regulations Across Different States

The regulatory landscape for gaming in India is diverse, with each state implementing its own laws:

  1. Sikkim: The Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008, requires that online games involving chance can only be offered within the physical premises of gaming parlors within the state through intranet gaming terminals. This restricts platforms from operating outside Sikkim.
  2. Nagaland: The Nagaland Prohibition of Gaming and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2016, mandates licenses for games of skill. License holders can operate in states where gambling is permitted.
  3. Telangana: The Telangana Gaming Act, 1974, explicitly prohibits risking money on the outcome of any event, including games of skill. Amendments to this act have expanded the definition of wagering and betting to include online games, leading to stringent regulations.
  4. Andhra Pradesh: The Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act was amended to ban all forms of online gaming involving money, removing the exception for games of skill. This has made the legal environment particularly challenging for gaming companies in the state.
  5. Tamil Nadu: Tamil Nadu has also taken a strict approach, banning online gambling and real-money games of chance through an ordinance. However, games of skill are still exempted, allowing platforms like fantasy sports to operate.
  6. Maharashtra: The Bombay High Court has ruled in favour of fantasy sports being considered games of skill, which allows such platforms to operate legally in the state.

Data Privacy and Protection

Data protection laws form the cornerstone of legal compliance for registering a gaming company in India, especially given the importance of user data collection and processing. The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (DPDP Act), recently enacted, provides a comprehensive framework for protecting digital personal data. This act replaces the older Information Technology Act, 2000, and its associated rules, and introduces stringent requirements for data fiduciaries (entities responsible for data processing) and data processors. Key compliance measures include obtaining explicit user consent for data collection and processing, implementing robust data security measures and ensuring transparency in data handling practices. Additionally, companies must be cautious about cross-border data transfers, ensuring compliance with specific regulations and implementing adequate safeguards.

To ensure adherence to these regulations, gaming companies must conduct regular Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) to evaluate the risks and impacts of their data processing activities. This includes developing a comprehensive data breach response plan to promptly detect, assess, and respond to security incidents. The DPDP Act also mandates that significant data fiduciaries appoint a data protection officer and conduct periodic data protection audits. By complying with these requirements, gaming companies can protect user data, maintain legal compliance, and build trust with their user base. For more detailed information, refer to the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 and additional guidelines from relevant regulatory bodies.

Foreign Investments and Compliance

The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999, is a key piece of legislation that regulates foreign exchange transactions in India. Enacted to facilitate external trade and payments, FEMA aims to promote the orderly development and maintenance of the foreign exchange market in India. For gaming companies with foreign investments, compliance with FEMA is crucial to ensure legal and seamless financial operations. FEMA outlines the procedures for foreign direct investment (FDI), external commercial borrowings, and other capital account transactions, setting the framework for how foreign investments can be received and utilized within the country.

Considerations for Gaming Companies with Foreign Investments

Gaming companies in India seeking foreign investments must adhere to several legal considerations under FEMA. First, they must ensure that any FDI complies with the sectoral caps and conditions set by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). As of now, the online gaming sector falls under the automatic route for FDI, meaning that foreign investments do not require prior approval from the government, provided they comply with the established guidelines.

Additionally, gaming companies must report all foreign investments to the RBI through the appropriate channels, such as the Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal. It is also essential to maintain meticulous records of all foreign transactions and ensure that funds are utilized as per the stipulated guidelines. Non-compliance with FEMA can lead to severe penalties, including fines and restrictions on further transactions.

To mitigate the risks associated with foreign investments, gaming companies should conduct thorough due diligence on their foreign partners and ensure that all transactions are transparent and compliant with Indian regulations. This includes verifying the legitimacy of the source of funds and ensuring that all agreements with foreign investors are legally sound and adhere to FEMA guidelines. By following these steps, gaming companies can effectively navigate the complexities of foreign investments and ensure robust legal compliance.


Registering a gaming company in India involves navigating a complex legal landscape that includes numerous compliance requirements under various laws and regulations. From understanding the classification of gaming platforms and adhering to the Information Technology Act, 2000, to obtaining state-specific licenses and ensuring robust data protection practices under the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, gaming companies must be diligent in their legal obligations. Compliance with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is essential to prevent illicit financial activities, while adherence to the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) ensures the legality of foreign investments. 

The comprehensive understanding and implementation of these legal frameworks are crucial for the successful registration and operation of a gaming company in India. Ensuring legal compliance at every step will mitigate risks, enhance credibility, and pave the way for sustainable growth in this dynamic industry. For detailed legal guidance and up-to-date information, consulting with legal experts and referring to official government resources is highly recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to register a gaming company in India?

Registering a gaming company in India involves several steps, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you through the process: 

  • Choose Business Structure: Common options are Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLP, or Private Limited Company (preferred).
  • Obtain Digital Signature Certificate (DSC): All proposed directors need a DSC for signing electronic documents.
  • Director Identification Number (DIN): Apply for a DIN by filling out eForm DIR-3 on the MCA portal.
  • Name Approval: Use the RUN (Reserve Unique Name) service on the MCA portal to check the availability and reserve the desired company name.
  • Filing Incorporation Forms: Prepare and file the eForm SPICe (INC-32) form along with the e-Memorandum of Association (eMoA) and e-Articles of Association (eAoA). These forms include details about the company’s structure, directors, and shareholding.
  • PAN and TAN Application: While filing the eForm SPICe  (INC-32), you can also apply for the company’s PAN and TAN.
  • Certificate of Incorporation: Once the forms are approved, the Registrar of Companies (RoC) will issue a Certificate of Incorporation, which legally recognizes the company.
  • Post-Incorporation Compliances: After incorporation, comply with additional requirements such as opening a bank account, GST registration and any industry-specific licenses.

2. Is running a gaming company legal in India?

Yes, running a gaming company is legal in India, but it is subject to various regulations and laws. The legal landscape for gaming in India primarily distinguishes between games of skill and games of chance. Games of skill, which include fantasy sports, chess, and e-sports, are generally permissible under Indian law. However, games of chance, which are akin to gambling, are heavily regulated and, in many states, prohibited. 

3. What is the new gaming law in India?

The new gaming law in India, encapsulated in the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023, introduces significant regulations for the online gaming industry. Key aspects of the new regulations include:

  • It distinguishes between permissible online games, including real money games verified by a self-regulatory body (SRB), and those that are not. Only verified games are allowed to be hosted by online gaming intermediaries.
  • Providers of online games are classified as “Online Gaming Intermediaries” under the Information Technology Act, 2000, granting the government power to regulate these entities extensively.
  • Online Gaming Intermediaries, especially those offering real money games (RM Intermediaries), must comply with stringent requirements, such as maintaining a physical presence in India, verifying users and ensuring responsible gaming practices.
  • The debate over the classification of games of skill versus games of chance impacts the applicable Goods and Services Tax (GST) rates, with ongoing deliberations about whether both should be taxed at 28%.

4. How can I ensure compliance with data protection laws while operating a gaming company?

Compliance with data protection laws is crucial for safeguarding the privacy and personal information of your users. This entails understanding the implications of laws such as the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act, 2023 and implementing robust data protection measures within your gaming platform. This may include obtaining user consent for data collection and processing, implementing security measures to prevent data breaches, and adhering to data retention and deletion policies as stipulated by the law.

5. How can I engage with Burgeon Law for guidance on legal compliance in registering a gaming company in India?

You can engage with Burgeon Law by reaching out through our website or directly contacting our legal team. After an initial consultation to assess needs and risks, we will propose a tailored engagement plan outlining services, timelines, and fees. Once agreed upon, we provide expert guidance throughout the registration process, including assistance with licenses, compliance audits and ongoing regulatory support.

6. How does burgeon law stay ahead of emerging legal challenges in the gaming industry?

Burgeon law remains proactive by continuously monitoring legislative changes, judicial rulings, and industry trends within the gaming sector. This involves engaging in ongoing legal research and maintaining close relationships with regulatory authorities to stay abreast of emerging legal challenges and opportunities. By anticipating legal developments, Burgeon Law can provide timely guidance to gaming companies, helping them navigate regulatory uncertainties and mitigate legal risks effectively.

Explore More Resources


Contact Us

    burgeon law white logo


    As per the rules of the Bar Council of India, law firms are not permitted to solicit work and advertise.

    By clicking the “Agree” button and accessing the website, the visitor fully understands and accepts that the contents herein are solely for informational purposes and should not be interpreted as solicitation or advertisement. The firm is not liable, in any manner, for the consequences of any action taken by a visitor relying on materials/ information provided on the website. The firm urges visitors to seek independent legal advice for any legal issues.