The online gaming industry is asking the government to set up an independent body that will standardize regulations across the online skill gaming sector, as opposed to having one just for fantasy sports. The Online Rummy Foundation (TORF) statement said that like fantasy sports, the skill gaming industry in India suffers from a similar set of state-by-state laws and regulations.
“There is an equal, if not a larger need, to regulate the broader skill gaming industry.” Read the statement.
Niti Aayog had made a few suggestions, including setting up a single organization for self-regulating the online fantasy sports industry, governed by an independent oversight board, and restricting online fantasy games to users who have attained the age of 18. This will be set apart from existing online casino regulations that have existed for some time.
While commenting on how the skill gaming industry has contributed to the government’s pro-growth vision, Bhavin Pandya, the co-founder and CEO of Games24x7 opined that the sector has a lot of potential to provide a healthy and equally responsible form of entertainment.
“Given the significant overlap between fantasy sports and other games of skill (which today include games like pool, carrom, quiz games, etc., in addition to Rummy), we believe that Niti Aayog’s draft paper should include the broader skill gaming industry.” Said CEO Pandya.
Aayog’s draft titled “Guiding Principles for the Uniform National-Level Regulation of Online Fantasy Sports Platforms in India” went further to acknowledge that there is a lot of interest from the general public in fantasy sports, which should prompt the government to recognize the industry and work towards giving it its own identity.
He added that there was a need for a single self-regulatory body for the fantasy sports industry in India to be recognized for what it is by the government. At the moment, there are dedicated regulatory bodies for gambling and betting in several parts of the world. That means market players like Betway operate under respective government regulations.
The Head Digital Works CEO Deepak Gullapalli said that India’s gaming industry is continually attracting big-name investors who are keen to support the development of the industry.
“A common self-regulatory body will result in the removal of a lot of uncertainty for foreign investors, spur foreign investment to the tune of a few billion dollars, drive innovation, employment and taxes.” Said Gullapalli. Head Digital Works operates fantasy sports platform Fanfight, and rummy brand A23.
There is a huge difference between fantasy sports and other forms of online games in that the former depends on actualities, seasonality, and the availability of real-time events, meaning it is not an addictive form of play like the real games played on the Betway casino.
While talking about the growth of India’s skill-driven entrepreneurial culture, the founder and CEO of Junglee Games Ankush Gera acknowledged that there is some significant rise in entrepreneurial activity over the last few years, where there are more than 275 active game development startups.
“This is more than a 10x increase in the number of industry players in the last ten years. The gaming industry employs over 50,000 highly qualified technologies, design, and product development resources.” Said Gera.