The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), a not-for-profit industry body, has approached the BJP and the Congress for inclusion of central regulation of online gaming in their manifestos.
“It is commendable that the two main political parties have looked at inclusiveness and suggestions from people in their manifestos. We wanted to highlight this critical issue of regulation in the online gaming industry, that has long been ignored but is the need of the hour. Hence, we have sent our suggestions to the respective committees highlighting benefits that will accrue to all stakeholders,” AIGF CEO Roland Landers said.
The AIGF focuses on policy advocacy, research and forum for discussion among stakeholders associated with the online gaming industry,
The online gaming industry can generate substantial revenues to the exchequer, create jobs, ensure responsible gaming and also curb and eliminate illegal activities, like match fixing and money laundering, if brought under formal regulation and taxed rationally.
Gaming is a state subject in India and each state has their own gaming laws. While most of these Acts are archaic in nature, gaming businesses have gone digital over the years and hence a central regulatory framework for the Online Gaming industry is the ideal way forward.
In July, 2018, the 21st Law Commission in its 276th report said, “legalising betting and gambling is not desirable in India in the present scenario. Therefore, the state authorities must ensure enforcement of a complete ban on unlawful betting and gambling.”
“However, incapability to enforce a complete ban has resulted in rampant increase in illegal gambling, resulting in a boom in black money generation and circulation. Since it is not possible to prevent these activities completely, effectively regulating them remains the only viable option,” it said.
Earlier, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had introduced a private member Bill, titled the Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill in the Lok Sabha on December 2018. The Bill aimed to introduce an effective administration to maintain the integrity of sports in India by preventing and penalising sports fraud and for regulation of online sports gaming.