Legality of Real Money Gaming Apps in India: Current Scenario and Future Prospects

legality of real money gaming apps in india current scenario and future prospects

What is the future of real money games in India? Over the past few years, real money gaming apps have experienced exponential growth in India. This surge is driven by increased internet penetration, affordable smartphones and a youthful demographic with a keen interest in gaming. Apps like Dream11, MPL and RummyCircle have become household names, attracting millions of users daily. The Indian gaming industry’s future looks promising, with continued expansion anticipated in the coming years.

Despite the booming industry, the legality of real money gaming apps in India remains a complex and evolving issue. The legal landscape is shaped by a mix of central and state laws, each with its own interpretation of what constitutes gambling versus skill-based gaming. Adhering to gaming laws in India will be crucial for the sustainable growth of the industry.

Current Scenario

Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2021

The recent amendments to these rules play a crucial role in the regulation of real money gaming apps in India. These rules require online gaming intermediaries to follow strict guidelines to ensure transparency, user protection and ethical conduct. The rules mandate that all gaming platforms must have a robust grievance redressal mechanism and adhere to stringent data privacy and user protection norms. The framework aims to safeguard the interests of India’s sovereignty, integrity, security and public order by implementing measures to protect users from self-harm, financial loss and fraud.

Role of Self-Regulatory Bodies (SRBs)

SRBs, such as the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), play a pivotal role in the online gaming regulations in India. These bodies are responsible for verifying and regulating online real money games to ensure they comply with the legal framework. SRBs must operate independently and maintain transparency to avoid conflicts of interest. They also have the authority to suspend or revoke the verification of games that do not comply with the rules. The SRB’s frameworks include measures to prevent addiction and financial harm, protecting both adult and underage users.

Recent Amendments and Their Implications

The amendments to the Information Technology Rules have been significant in shaping the real money gaming app’s legal status. These changes require gaming companies to publish comprehensive frameworks for user protection and ethical conduct, addressing issues like addiction, financial fraud and underage gaming. These regulations aim to create a safer environment for gamers and ensure that the industry operates within the bounds of Indian law. Recent judicial decisions, such as the Supreme Court’s ruling on fantasy sports being games of skill, further clarify the legal standing of various gaming formats​.

State-Wise Legal Status

In India, the legal framework differentiates between games of skill and games of chance. This distinction is critical in determining the legality of real money gaming apps. Games of skill are considered legal under Indian law, as they are not deemed gambling. The Supreme Court of India has ruled that games like rummy and fantasy sports fall under this category. Conversely, games of chance, which are based purely on luck, are often categorized as gambling and are subject to stricter regulations or outright bans in many states. The legal status of real money gaming apps varies significantly across different states in India, reflecting a framework of regulations.

States with Outright Bans

  • Telangana: Telangana amended its Gaming Act in 2017 to ban online gambling, including games of skill played for money, citing concerns over addiction and financial losses among users.
  • Andhra Pradesh: The Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974, was amended in October 2020 to ban all forms of online gambling and betting, including games of skill played for stakes.
  • Karnataka: Karnataka also banned online gambling, including games of skill, through amendments to its gaming laws in 2021, though this decision has faced legal challenges and scrutiny.

States Allowing Games of Skill

  • West Bengal: The West Bengal Gambling and Prize Competitions Act, 1957, explicitly excludes games of skill from its definition of gambling, allowing games like rummy and poker to be legally played for money.
  • Goa: Goa permits certain forms of gambling and has legalized casinos, where both games of skill and chance are allowed under regulated environments. The Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976, governs these activities.
  • Sikkim: Sikkim allows online gaming under a licensing regime, where operators can offer games of skill and certain types of games of chance, provided they obtain the necessary licenses.

Future Prospects

Expected Regulatory Developments and Their Potential Impact 

The legality of real money gaming apps in India is expected to undergo significant changes with new regulatory frameworks. The central government is considering a uniform approach to regulating online gambling and real money gaming, aiming to replace the current framework of state regulations with a systematic national policy. 

This potential shift, driven by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), could bring much-needed clarity and consistency to the industry. Expected regulatory developments include stricter compliance requirements, enhanced user protection measures and clear definitions of permissible gaming activities. These changes could bolster investor confidence and drive further growth in the sector​​.

Role of Technology

Advances in technology are set to revolutionize the Indian gaming industry future. The rollout of 5G networks will enable faster and more reliable internet connectivity, enhancing the gaming experience with higher data speeds. Cloud gaming, which allows users to stream games directly without the need for high-end hardware, is also expected to become more popular.

This technology will democratize access to high-quality gaming, making it more accessible to a broader audience. Additionally, innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can improve game design, user engagement and fraud detection, further boosting the industry’s growth​​.

Predictions for Market Growth and Opportunities for New Entrants

The real money gaming apps legal status in India, coupled with technological advancements, is likely to drive substantial market growth. The online gaming market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 14% in the next few years. This growth presents significant opportunities for new entrants, particularly those offering innovative and user-friendly gaming solutions. 

Companies that leverage emerging technologies, ensure compliance with evolving regulations and prioritize user safety are well-positioned to thrive in this expanding market. The integration of blockchain for secure transactions and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for unique in-game assets are examples of innovations that could attract a new wave of users and investors​.

Final Thoughts

The legality of real money gaming apps in India is a complex and evolving issue shaped by a mix of central and state laws. Despite the industry’s rapid growth, driven by increased internet access and affordable smartphones, the legal status of these apps varies across states, with some allowing skill-based games and others imposing outright bans. Recent regulatory developments, including amendments to the Information Technology Rules and the active role of self-regulatory bodies, aim to ensure user safety and ethical conduct. For sustained growth, users and developers must navigate the legal landscape effectively by consulting legal experts who provide online gaming legal services in India.

Ensure Compliance and Growth in India’s Gaming Sector

For navigating the evolving legal landscape of real money gaming apps in India, trust the expertise of Burgeon Law in providing online gaming legal services in India. Our team of seasoned legal professionals specializes in gaming law and can provide comprehensive guidance on compliance with both central and state regulations. We stay ahead of regulatory changes to ensure that your business operates within the bounds of Indian law, safeguarding against legal pitfalls. Whether you are a developer, investor or operator, Burgeon Law’s in-depth understanding and strategic advice will help you achieve sustainable growth and success in the dynamic gaming industry


1. What is the current legality of real money gaming apps in India?

The legality of real money gaming apps in India is complex and varies by state. While games of skill, such as rummy and fantasy sports, are generally considered legal based on Supreme Court rulings, games of chance are often restricted or banned. States like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have stringent laws banning all forms of real money gaming. Meanwhile, states like West Bengal and Goa permit games of skill.

2. How do self-regulatory bodies (SRBs) impact the gaming industry?

SRBs, such as the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), play a crucial role in the online gaming regulations India by setting standards for ethical conduct, transparency and user protection. They help ensure that gaming platforms adhere to legal requirements and provide a safe environment for players. 

3. What technological advancements are expected to influence the gaming industry in India?

Technological innovations like 5G, cloud gaming and blockchain are set to transform the Indian gaming industry future. 5G will enhance gaming experiences with faster and more reliable internet, while cloud gaming will make high-quality games accessible without requiring high-end hardware. Blockchain technology can provide secure transactions and unique in-game assets, fostering further growth and innovation

4. What are the future prospects for real money gaming apps in India?


The future is bright for real money gaming apps, with anticipated regulatory developments providing a clearer legal framework. Technological advancements will drive further growth, creating new opportunities for players and developers. The evolving legality of real money gaming apps in India will likely foster a dynamic and sustainable industry​.

5. What are the legal risks associated with real money gaming apps?


Legal risks for real money gaming apps include non-compliance with state-wise gaming regulations India, potential bans, financial penalties and reputational damage. Gaming companies must stay updated with the evolving gaming laws in India to mitigate these risks and ensure lawful operation and must consult with experts providing online gaming legal services in India.


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