Online gaming industry seeks self-regulatory body for governing sector

The online gaming industry and experts have suggested the government set up a single self-regulatory body to standardize regulations governing the entire online skill gaming industry to ease operations and bring uniformity into the sector. Currently, the online gaming industry is governed by state specific laws and regulations.
NITI Aayog had recently suggested that the government set up such a regulatory body for online fantasy sports. “The online skill gaming industry has tremendous potential to provide a healthy, responsible form of entertainment. Given the news24nationificant overlap between fantasy sports and other games of skill, we believe that Niti Aayog’s draft paper should include the broader skill gaming industry,” Bhavin Pandya, Co-founder and CEO, Games24x7 said.

According to Pandya, such an approach would produce tremendous benefits for the country. “Standardized rules and regulations for India’s entire skill gaming industry will ensure that the tens of millions of players in India get service from responsible operators,” he said, adding it will eliminate the vast number of illegal and unscrupulous operators that are now serving the Indian market. “This move will help generate over Rs. 10,000 crores in direct and indirect taxes annually for the government by 2025, and create thousands of jobs through direct and indirect employment,” he added.

“Like fantasy sports, India’s skill gaming industry suffers from the same set of state-by-state laws and regulations. There is an equal, if not a larger need, to regulate the broader skill gaming industry,” Sameer Barde, CEO, The Online Rummy Federation said.

The Aayog had sought stakeholders’ view on the draft report titled “Guiding Principles for the Uniform National-Level Regulation of Online Fantasy Sports Platforms in India”, by January 18, 2021.

“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,” Deepak Gullapalli, CEO of Head Digital Works said.

Commenting on the recent development of Esports inclusion in the upcoming Asian Games, Sai Srinivas, CEO, Mobile Premier League said, “it makes sense to regulate all games of skill together and democratize the wider ambit of Esports, especially given its inclusion in the upcoming Asian Games”.
“Regulatory clarity will spur the creation of a new class of skill games and entertainment for India,” said PayTM First Games spokesperson.

Industry estimates show India is one the fastest growing online gaming markets globally with 400 million gamers with 75% of the $1.2 billion revenue from the gaming industry coming from skills games.