There has to be a nationwide framework for regulating the online gaming industry, Chief Counsel’s Courtroom Deposition
Attorney for the Supreme Court Gopal Jain argues in a recent post that “India’s Lords Exchange gaming sector urgently deserves a unified, light-touch regulatory framework devised by the national government in order to realize its genuine potential and thrive.”
In the author’s view, every issue that only arises across state lines is the responsibility of the federal government to regulate. Furthermore, the Union Government has authority over gaming websites because they are considered intermediaries under the Information Technology Act of 2000.
In today’s technologically advanced world, old state-level rules, such as the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which was designed to prohibit gambling and betting in public gaming venues, are completely ineffectual. Therefore, the Indian gaming industry is forced to function in an environment characterised by uncertainty and a fragmented regulatory framework at the national level.
To support his argument that fantasy sports are constitutionally protected as games of skill, senior attorney Jain cites a number of recent rulings from high courts across the country and the Supreme Court.
The several court decisions in the same direction were insufficient, however, when blanket gaming prohibitions were implemented in the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, including those over skill games. More lawsuits were filed in response to the complete restrictions, and the highest courts eventually ruled that they were illegal and excessive.
Past the Boundaries of Online Skill-Based Gambling Regulation
India has to quickly implement a comprehensive national regulatory framework to allow the local gaming industry to reach its full economic and social potential by fostering new jobs and increasing tax revenue while protecting players’ safety. It’s a structure that needs to account for online skill games alongside chance games, casino wagering, and even online Lords Exchange cricket betting.
Instead of putting roadblocks in the way of companies and forcing them to navigate a maze of regional laws and prohibitions, India should take a cue from the national regulation and licencing regimes that developed economies are increasingly adopting, leaving Indian gamers at the dubious mercy of the black market.
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Sweden is one such country that has abandoned its state monopoly strategy in favour of a regulatory framework that comprises a national gaming authority and a licencing system as of January 1, 2019. The sudden influx of foreign bookmakers and gamblers preying on Swedish internet users was a major factor in the decision. To actively protect the public and lessen the social cost of gambling, the country planned to increase its control over the sector, increase tax revenues, and establish regulations and other measures.
Following the worldwide trend of placing a premium on player protection,
Sweden adopted a nationwide self-exclusion programme and a set of responsible gaming standards for operators. The software allowed users to immediately opt out of receiving advertising materials and blocking access to all national gaming sites.
Other measures included the introduction of a responsible gaming button on all gaming websites, limits on the use of credit cards, fast-play options for slot machines, loyalty programmes, limits on bonus offers, and the option for players to set a personal spending maximum.
Match-fixing and cheating are both prohibited by Swedish law, and payments to unauthorised gambling platforms are prohibited as well.
A number of countries, including the Netherlands, Australia, and a few states in the United States, have implemented a licencing structure that prioritises client safety. These countries include Denmark, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and France.
When discussing the potential of India’s gaming industry,
Senior attorney Jain highlights projections that the local gaming market will be worth more than $2 billion by 2023 and that there will be more than 40 crore gamers in India. At the present time, there are three domestic gaming unicorns: Dream11, MPL, and Games24x7.
Even while its overall income is far lower than that of industry titans Microsoft, Sony, Tencent, and Nintendo ($90 billion), India is in a fantastic position to become a worldwide leader in the gaming sector.
When asked if Indian gaming companies might export titles based on Indian culture to the global digital market, Prime Minister Modi admitted that this was a possibility. The gambling industry in the country needs a centralised, modern, comprehensive regulatory structure that goes beyond the element of skill if it is to realise its full potential and create a safe gaming environment for the public.
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