India’s online skill gaming industry has collectively recommended that the Indian national government establish a new institution to standardise gaming regulations.
According to Asian Gaming Brief, since the1960s, the Supreme Court has distinguished the difference between gambling and games of skill, with the latter being legal. However, some of the local governments in the country’s states established their own rules related to games of skill, sometimes even banning them.
Government policy thing tank NITI Aayog, recently proposed “guiding Principles for the Uniform National-Level Regulation of Online Fantasy Sports Platforms in India”, which would establish a single, self-regulatory body for fantasy sports. The proposal received support, but the industry argued that it should cover all skill-based games, not just fantasy sports.
CEO of The Online Rummy Federation Sameer Barde noted: “It is a brilliant move to have fair regulations for the online skill gaming industry in India… But at the same time, it is paramount to understand that fantasy games are only a part of the entire skill gaming industry. There is an equal, if not a larger need, to regulate the broader skill gaming industry.”
Bhavin Pandya, co-founder and CEO of Games24x7, explained the law does not differentiate between fantasy sports and any other game of skill. “Fantasy is one game of skill, and while distinctions have been made in the media between fantasy and other games of skill, the judgments which rule that fantasy is a game of skill are based on the 1996 Supreme Court judgment which rules horseracing and rummy to be games of skill.”
A national regulatory body could provide a boost for taxes and increase economic benefit, as well as help eliminate illegal operations.