Crypto Assets

Time for India to move forward with regulated iGaming

Time for India to move forward with regulated iGaming


In terms of potential, little in the iGaming sector can match the opportunity that would exist in India, should lawmakers in the world’s second-most populous country after China decide to open the door to a fully regulated iGaming market.

The reality is that thanks to the fact that around 750 million people in India have smartphones, and over 550 million have access to the internet, the sector has already achieved a significant foothold and is thought to be worth more than $900m, with forecasted growth to over £1.2bn in the next couple of years.

With 27 separate states, each with its own local laws, and three separate pieces of national legislation governing gambling (one of which dates back to the 1860s), those who seek a more modern and progressive approach have a mountain to climb.

The Public Gambling Act of 1867 outlaws all forms of gambling in India and the Prize Competition Act of 1955 restricts any form of prize competition from having a prize per month of more than 1,000 rupees ($13). But both of these Acts became law before the internet existed and as such, are at least in need of updating. Furthermore, the Information Technology Act of 2000 does not explicitly outlaw online gambling.

Only two of the 27 states in India allow land-based gambling locations, Goa and Sikkim. And only Sikkim has introduced state regulation that relates to online gaming in the form of its Online Gaming (Regulation) Act of 2008. This allows Indian players to play in online cryptocurrency casinos, which some might describe as ‘putting the cart before the horse’.

The only credible conclusion we can reach is a very familiar one, and that is that a regulated online gambling in India would have an unprecedented impact on the country’s wider economic outlook. National and state governments could raise huge sums in tax and other fees, enabling vastly increased investment in essential infrastructure projects. The alternative, as we all know, is an unregulated industry that sees all the money staked by players leaving the Indian economy and flowing into the hands of offshore operators. As markets around the world continue to understand these simple equations, and open up, it is surely only a matter of time before India follows suit?