In India there is no regulatory authority to plug the loopholes of various flip sides of the gaming industry. Can this be changed?
Words by Jaydeep, Vice President at Markor Technology. Jaydeep's aim is to expand Markor's reach in established and emerging markets in Asia and Africa. Before Markor, Jaydeep worked with Ingenuity Gaming. He has extensive experience, working in the gaming industry at a senior level positions and has worked in executive roles at leading casino brands 32 Red, Ladbrokes and Cozy Games. Jaydeep has several professional relationships with key stake holders and is playing a key role in establishing a vibrant gaming industry in India.
The Gaming industry has created its own indispensable space online. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry bringing together avid gamers from every corner of this planet. The internet added a new dimension to the gaming universe, evolving from basic arcade games and video games to advanced gaming consoles and social gaming that requires interacting with other online players. The online gaming industry has been pushing performance cutting across the boundaries in networking and computing to keep up with the ever-evolving gameplays.
Similar to other companies in the entertainment industry, gaming companies derive revenue from four sources: in-app purchases, advertisements, subscription and as rake or commissions from players for Skill Games. Massive multiplayer online games allow users to interact with other gamers and build a unique gaming experience.
The boom is driven by Indians who prefer vying for cash and prizes as a better use of their online time than watching movies or playing video games that don’t offer any rewards. Industry sales are forecast to reach about $3.3 billion by 2024.
Industry enthusiasts have witnessed unparalleled growth of the industry since lockdown came into effect. India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani predicted that gaming business eventually will surpass that of music, movies and TV shows combined ($12 billion).
Indian gaming industry will witness an unprecedented growth, as new gaming enthusiasts are now looking to participate in eSports and engage in multiple online games.
Unfortunately, in India there is no regulatory authority to plug the loopholes of various flipsides of this industry particularly in the Skill Gaming Industry where millions are wagered every day, that can be alarming in future, if it is not properly monitored from now. In order to better monitoring of the industry and to more popularize the games of Skill like Online Rummy, Online Poker and Fantasy Betting Products - DFS, myself as an Industry veteran with twenty years of experience, I think India should form a regulatory authority in line with Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) in India. Like TRAI, the gaming industry should have its own governing body comprising legal experts, cyber experts, retired judges, industry veterans and social experts headed by policy makers and industry experts.
The Madras High Court on 25 July stated that government, through suitable legislation, should regulate and control online gaming. The court said it is not against virtual games, but thinks there should be a regulatory body to monitor and regulate both offline and online legal gaming activities.
The monitoring authority will ensure that Gaming including Games of Skill are conducted honestly, competitively and free of criminal and corruptive elements. Since the continued growth and success of gaming is dependent upon public confidence, the authority considering the present scenario can define new gaming laws that will protect gaming consumers and the viability and integrity of the gaming industry, including prevention of cheating and fraudulent practices. The monitoring authority will set guidelines where participants in the gaming industry should attain minimum 18 years age. Monitoring authority in its guidelines will define that before taking part into the game all participants should furnish their details, including players ' Aadhar card, Pan Card and account number and the fee before taking part into the game should come from participants' accounts.
The guidelines formed by the authority will maintain effective controls over their financial transactions, will keep watch on internal fiscal affairs and safeguards its assets and revenues of various stake holders. Monitoring authority will maintain good liaison with all stakeholders for strict compliance with various laws, regulations and to ensure internal controls pertaining to gaming. In consultation with other stakeholders it will adopt new rules and regulations under the implementing statutes.
In times it will take appropriate measures to investigate and will determine if there has been any violation of laws or regulations. The guidelines will define that monitoring body will have the authority to impose disciplinary sanctions for violations, including fines and penalties. Even the monitoring authority can suspend the licence of any company if found any gross violation of its guidelines. It will grant licences for participation in gaming operations. The monitoring body will review the character and fitness of participants in gaming operations and make determinations regarding their suitability or qualification for licensure. In times it will collect review reports and information submitted by participants in gaming operations.
Apart from this, the governing body should safeguard players' rights, should ensure all safe modus operandi of the game, redress the grievances of all stakeholders that will lead players friendly environment. Presently there is no forum available for Online Gamers to raise their complaints against any Skill Gaming Operator.
The governing body should enforce all guidelines by letter and spirit to uphold the industries integrity, transparency, honesty and beauty.
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