Online gaming has become extremely popular in India with the introduction of games such as PUBG, especially. And now, Shashi Tharoor, senior Congress Member of Parliament has introduced a private member bill. This bill unveiled in Lok Sabha was introduced for regulatory measures for the online gaming industry. He stressed the necessity of the bill by highlighting high growth of the gaming industry looking a few years back.
While introducing the bill, Tharoor said, “The main purpose of my bill is to preserve the integrity of sports. The bill is primarily divided into two parts for this purpose. One part recognizes the offence of sports fraud and prescribes a special procedure to deal with it. The other part acknowledges the fact that the increasing commercial nature of sports increases financial incentives for vested interests to manipulate sporting events, therefore it provides for the regulation of online sports betting activities.”
According to Shashi Tharoor there is an immediate need for a statutory framework. This statutory framework needs to be supervised by the government in order to ensure that service providers follow licensing conditions and curb any illegal activity, in case they take place. This, according to him will reduce the flow of black money and regulate flow of finances in the industry. A report by All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) says that India has 120 million gamers which includes an increase of 30 percent, retrospecting three years before.
Online gaming in India is reportedly valued at $360 million, and is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2021. On an interesting note, the bill which Shashi Tharoor proposed plans to regulate games which would involve prediction. Also, there would be betting on sporting event results, which will happen with the help of telecommunication devices. It will be interesting to watch how this impacts the gaming consumers.
Roland Landers, the CEO of AIGF said, “There is an urgent need to have government intervention in order to streamline the industry, preserve integrity of sports and eliminate sports fraud. AIGF is committed to dealing with issues pertaining to online gaming industry.”