Indian Gaming Industry Calls for Unified Regulatory Body
The Indian online gaming industry has asked the NITI Aayog government think tank to create a single self-regulatory organization for the industry to standardize regulations for the entire sector, not just fantasy sports.
The move comes after NITI Aayog published a draft report titled ‘Guiding Principles for the Uniform National-Level Regulation of Online Fantasy Sports Platforms in India’, which suggested creating a single, self-regulatory body for fantasy sports.
Sameer Barde, the CEO of The Online Rummy Federation (TORF), has said that India’s online skill gaming industry worth is roughly ₹5,250 crore and he argues that fantasy sports are part of the skill gaming industry.
India’s Supreme Court has ruled that skill games are legal and constitutionally protected commercial activities that may be played or organized for gain and profit.
The co-founder and CEO of Games24x7, Bhavin Pandya, believes that the online skill gaming industry has great potential to provide people with a responsible form of entertainment. He pointed out that the industry has been receiving a great deal of foreign investment from companies such as Sequoia, Tiger Global, Accel Partners, Raine Capital, Clairvest (TSE: CVG), Westbridge Capital, Kalaari Capital, Bennett Coleman, Blume Ventures, and Kae Capital.
Over ₹5,000 crore in foreign investments have already come into the country in the overall skill gaming industry, with over 10 non-fantasy sports companies having successfully raised capital. In comparison, only two fantasy sports players have attracted FDI.
The gambling industry is arguing that the NITI Aayog draft paper should include the wider skill gaming industry and that standardized rules and regulations for the industry will ensure that Indians are playing at responsible operators. It believes that the creation of a single, self-regulatory body will “eliminate the vast number of illegal and unscrupulous operators that are now serving the Indian market.” Furthermore, it would help to generate over ₹10,000 crore in direct and indirect taxes annually.