Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed the Lok Sabha recently that nine states and union territories have passed laws governing online gaming, but a centralised Act is required to regulate it. (Representational image/IANS)
While some industry experts supported the Centre’s idea to introduce a legal framework, one expert has called it a debatable move
Union minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar while responding to a query by BJD’s Niranjan Bishi in the Rajya Sabha confirmed that the rules for online gaming will be prescribed shortly, which will address the issue of illegal betting on the internet.
Chandrasekhar’s response comes after the union minister of railways, communications, electronics & IT, Ashwini Vaishnaw, informed the Lok Sabha recently that nine states and union territories have passed laws governing online gaming, but a centralised Act is required to regulate it.
Earlier this week, Vaishnaw said: “We as very responsible lawmakers should reach a consensus and have a central Act which basically has been drafted in consultation with everybody and that central Act should be effectively regulating online gaming and gambling.”
As the government is now highlighting the requirement of a central law, Yugal Kishore Sharma, director of the Esports Federation of India, said that implementation of such regulation on apps like Teen Patti, Poker, Rummy, Fantasy, online gambling, or betting, etc. is a positive step forward.
“It is important for the central law to accurately categorise or define these types of apps and platforms in a manner consistent with how the rest of the world defines them, as ‘igaming’ instead of ‘online gaming’,” he added.
Sharma also believes that it will help ensure the effectiveness and clarity of the regulations and also not confuse actual video games and esports. Furthermore, he said: “Every stakeholder in the video gaming ecosystem requires a separate division and set of rules to fuel the growth of the emerging industry.”
Similarly, Rohit N Jagasia, founder and CEO of Revenant Esports, is also supporting the idea while saying that there is a pressing need to officially regulate real money gaming, fantasy, and betting apps to make sure that the industry operates in a responsible and transparent manner.
According to him, a regulatory framework will promote responsible gaming, address a lot of issues related to gambling in the country, and will also ensure that there is no confusion between iGaming, fantasy sports, and Esports.
Rohit Agarwal, founder and director of Alpha Zegus, said that implementing a central law is debatable.
“It does make a lot of sense when we talk about regulating gaming and gambling addiction, but at the same time, the games that should be allowed and banned seem like a state-to-state decision to take. We should wait a while to hear what rules are being put into the central pipeline,” he noted.
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