Earlier this week, the Karnataka High Court overturned the state government’s order banning online gambling: the law had banned all betting and gambling-related online gaming formats in the state. Last year, the Madras High Court struck down a similar law targeting rummy and online poker.
In the past two years, we have seen states across the country clamp down on online gaming: from Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha to Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana, many states have imposed restrictions, with games of skill, games of Gambling with real money is the main objective.
Last December, Sushil Kumar Modi urged the government to come up with a “comprehensive framework” to regulate online gaming, while NITI Aayog has been fighting for industry self-regulation.
Currently, the Indian online skill game industry deals with fragmented laws at the state level, while the central law is stuck in the 19th century. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 has been repeatedly declared obsolete by both the state high courts and the Supreme Court and is not adequate to regulate online gaming.
Meanwhile, the gaming industry is now seeking a central regulation for online gaming and a central regulatory body to govern this space.
According to a report by RedSeer, the Indian gaming market is currently at $2.2 billion and will grow to $7 billion in the next five years.
By one estimate, more than 450 million of India’s more than 650 million internet users now play games on their smartphones, and the pandemic has played its part in the sector’s tremendous growth over the past two years.
The question we are asking ourselves today is, given the potential of the Indian gaming industry, how can stakeholders work together to better regulate the sector and what should be the contours of a potential law that is pragmatic and futuristic while protecting interests? of the players? Shereen Bhan of CNBC-TV18 spoke with Manish Agarwal, CEO of Nazara Technologies; Trivikraman Thampy, co-founder of Games24x7; Sameer Barde, Executive Director of the E Gaming Federation; and R Chandrashekhar, president of the Center for the Digital Future.