Many states have decided to ban online games, but this is not the solution to prevent users from becoming addicted to these games and losing money, said Sameer Barde, CEO of E-Gaming Federation, a non-profit organization working towards industry self-regulation. Online games should be seen as a “new form of entertainment”, he said. Activity area.
“Online gambling is a state subject. However, there is a lack of capacity to enforce regulations at state level in India. A ban on online gambling will hamper the untapped potential of the industry. However, an authority similar to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India can be created to regulate online gambling,” he said.
Games like rummy, fantasy, poker and chess are skill-based games and protected by justice under Article 19(1)(g), he said.
“Game, Different Game”
Governments and people are confused between gambling and gambling. There are genuine concerns that users may become addicted to gambling and huge sums of money are being spent. However, addiction is not a function of what you do, but a personality disorder. It has nothing to do with the game, only with the person. Also, money spent on games can be controlled using technology, he said.
“Let’s assume governments have the right intention. However, the question is to solve the problem? If you forbid it, what ability do you have to enforce it? A classic example is when it was banned in Telangana in 2017 when the whole industry was around ₹400 crore then. In 2020, a Chinese man launched 60 illegal gambling apps there in a ₹2,000 crore scam. This happened despite the ban in place for three years. What has the government managed to do? he asked.
Legitimate people in online gambling left the industry in Telngana as they could not legally operate there. The government left the door open for illegal operators to make money. The government had no ability to control them. “How does the government block someone or trace someone? ” he said.
If the government’s objective in banning is to protect players, this sector should be regulated and legitimate operators allowed to operate and the industry will benefit, he said.
Emerging entertainment market
India is emerging as one of the most exciting entertainment markets in the world with the current online market size of $2.2 billion and is expected to grow 30% CAGR to $7 billion by 2026. Revenue is driven by skill-based games like Rummy, Fantasy and Chess. Two years ago, there were almost 400 million players, and this number should reach 700 million in three years. The industry employs nearly 45,000 skilled workers, he said.
There are nearly 400 gaming startups, including four Unicorns – Dream11, Game247, MPL and Nazara Technologies. There was a net investment inflow of $2 billion between 2014 and 2021 with big investors like Tiger Global, Sequoia, Raine, Softban and Chryscapital, he said.
Online games have direct benefits for several industries, including semiconductors, banking, payment gateways, telecommunications, fintech, sports and entertainment, he said.
Barde suggested the formation of a joint committee to explore the possibility of establishing a licensing regime to regulate the gaming industry as a whole and the skill games industry in particular.
April 09, 2022