NEW DELHI: Reacting to the recent statement made by the Honorable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu regarding the end of online gambling in the state, the FICCI Gaming Committee (FGC) urges the government to adopt a gambling policy protecting players while ensuring a safe and responsible gaming environment.
In February 2021, the state government amended the Tamil Nadu Gambling Act 1930, banning online gambling, then the Madras High Court struck down the law in August 2021 based on several rulings by the Supreme Court taken in the past. Reiterating the constitutional protection given to games of skill.
The FICCI Gaming Committee is committed to supporting the government in establishing a safe gaming environment. However, we would like to reiterate that blanket bans do not guarantee the protection of players, but rather benefit unscrupulous operators and encourage illicit and clandestine gambling activities, resulting in adverse effects on the very populations that the government seeks to protect.
The FICCI Gaming Committee believes that the need of the hour is a stable regulatory mechanism capturing clear requirements that protect consumers and the operations of legal operators. The government should consider regulating this new form of entertainment, thereby addressing several issues – the most important being protecting gamers by giving them access to responsible entertainment choices.
Mr. Arun Chawla, Chief Executive of FICCI, said: “While we appreciate the government’s intention to protect users, a sweeping ban seems excessive and disproportionate to achieving its goals. It will also have a severe impact on these new legitimate tech-focused businesses that generate much-needed jobs and revenue for the state.
Mr. Sameer Barde, Convener FGC & CEO, E-Gaming Federation said, “About 420 million gamers across the country enjoy online gaming as a form of entertainment. To ensure the experiences of these gamers are safe, we are asking the government to consider regulating this industry, which would only allow legitimate and legal operators to operate while adhering to strict protocols. At EGF, we have implemented a self-regulatory framework in the form of a code of conduct ensuring a safe, transparent and responsible environment for players by our certified members. We look forward to working with the government and offering our expertise to help the state establish a well-regulated and sustainable industry.
Mr. Roland Landers, Organizer, FGC and CEO, All India Gaming Federation, said, “The 27% CAGR growth generated by the online skill games industry in 2020 has made it the fastest growing segment. fastest in India’s M&E industry. The Sunrise online skill game industry is responsible for facilitating more than 400 start-ups in this sector and attracting more than 400 million players – young Indians offering them viable alternative employment opportunities in sports electronics and other gaming businesses.
“All AIGF stakeholders are governed by the Gaming Charter which ensures global best practices in responsible gaming and player protection. It is in the interest of all parties involved that the state government works with the skill games industry to put in place a strong regulatory framework to ensure that all stakeholders in the ecosystem benefit economically. and socially, including gaming tax revenues and allowing Indian-registered gaming companies to operate in the state,” Mr. Landers added.
Mr. Anwar Shirpurwala, Head of Games Committee of FICCI and CEO of Fantasy Sports Federation of India said, “India has become the largest fantasy sports market in the world with over 13 cr of sports fans indians using fantasy sports. Fantasy Sports contributes significantly to the growth of the sports ecosystem in India and also helps sports fans in Tamil Nadu to meaningfully engage in their favorite sports. Our government’s first think tank, NITI Aayog, recognized fantasy sports as a booming sector. Renowned academic institutions such as IIM Bangalore and MIT have applied scientific methodology and concluded that participating in fantasy sports requires significant skills, even beyond those required by a mutual fund manager. Furthermore, various legal commissions including the Uttar Pradesh Law Commission and the Law Commission of India have held that games of skill should be exempted from gambling laws. Various high courts including the High Court of Rajasthan have declared that fantasy sports are e-sports and are entitled to protection under Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution. The view was further endorsed by the Honorable Supreme Court. In view of the above, the industry looks forward to working with the Government of Tamil Nadu to create a safe experience for sports fans and enable responsible industry growth through regulation.