Former Chief Justice of India, K.G. Balakrishnan, delivered insightful remarks regarding regulating India’s online gaming industry during a conclave in Mumbai organized by the Interactive Forum on Indian Economy (IFIE) on January 30, 2024. The event, themed “Modi’s Vision: Bharat – A $5 Trillion Economy,” aimed to explore avenues for India’s economic growth, focusing on emerging sectors like online gaming.
Justice Balakrishnan stressed the significance of regulating the online gaming industry, stating, “Nobody can stop the online skill gaming market as it grows globally. India should also aspire towards growing it, but the industry should be on the path of skill gaming only and not a chance-based game.”
He highlighted the need for a functional regulatory body to oversee the online gaming sector, emphasizing its potential to impact India’s economic growth positively.
Potential of India’s Online Gaming Market
The online gaming segment in India has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, with immense economic potential. With a substantial gaming community comprising 42.5 crore gamers, India ranks second globally after China. The sector holds promise for boosting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows, employment opportunities, and investments in various ancillary industries such as fintech, cloud services, data analytics, and cybersecurity.
From FY20 to FY23, the online gaming segment experienced a notable Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 28%, reaching a market size of INR 16,428 crore in FY23. Industry estimates project further growth, with the segment expected to reach INR 33,243 crore in FY28E. Additionally, the online gaming industry has attracted significant investments totaling INR 22,931 crore between FY20 and FY24 from domestic and foreign sources.
In light of these developments, Justice Balakrishnan’s call for regulation aligns with the ongoing discussions within the online gaming industry. The Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021, issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), aim to provide clarity and foster innovation while prioritizing user safety.
Furthermore, establishing the Skillhub Online Games Federation (SOG Federation) represents a significant step towards presenting a charter of regulating the online skill gaming industry. With Justice Balakrishnan as the Advisor in Chief and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra as the Deputy Chief Advisor, the SOG Federation aims to address regulatory challenges and unleash India’s immense potential in the multi-billion-dollar online gaming industry.