JAIPUR: The recent announcement by the Chief Minister that the state government is looking to regulate the online skill gaming sector (that includes skill games like Fantasy, Rummy, Poker, Bridge, Chess, etc) has invoked an enthusiastic response from the skill gaming industry.
Speaking at a gathering, Sameer Barde, CEO of E-Gaming Federation (EGF), an organization representing top online skill gaming operators in India, said,
“The industry is very upbeat that Rajasthan could become the first state in India, to introduce a progressive regulatory regime for the online skill gaming sector, which has been operating in a regulatory vacuum for a long time.”
Barde added, that the sector has received a big impetus after Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman announced the setting up of the Animation, Visual Arts, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) Task Force, in her budget speech last month.
Barde added that the government recognizes the employment and revenue generation potential of this sunrise sector, which also directly benefits other crucial sectors such as fintech, semiconductors, IT, banking, etc. He said,
“With the right support, the online skill gaming sector can propel a second software revolution in India. It already directly employs close to 50,000 people and creates meaningful jobs for a lot of young engineers and other professionals. A lot of states have spoken about the need to develop the gaming sector. Karnataka has launched its own AVGC Centre, Telangana has talked about making Hyderabad a gaming hub, and if Rajasthan can become the first major state to introduce a progressive policy, then it will fetch a lot of investments to the state”
In the last seven years, the online skill gaming sector has received more than USD 2 billion in international investments. Companies such as Dream11, MPL, Games24x7, Paytm Games, Junglee Games, Head Digital Works have received investments from several top Private Equity and Venture Capital Firms. Barde feels that this number could go up further, with Supreme Court and several High Courts, reaffirming the status of games of skill as legitimate business activity. “Oftentimes, people confuse games of skill with gambling. But the courts have repeatedly held that games of skill are different from games of chance and several Supreme Court and High decisions have over the years held Rummy, Bridge, Poker, Chess, and more recently Fantasy as games of skill,” he said.
Coming back to the proposed reform in Rajasthan Barde said,
“It was very reassuring to hear Honourable Chief Minister Shri Ashok Gehlot Ji, when he spoke in the house during the ongoing budget session, about regulating the sector. We are really looking forward to it, and hope that government sets up a joint committee including industry participants. As a self-regulator for the industry, we believe we can add much value in bringing to the table the best international practices and ensuring that the policy is a win-win for all stakeholders – players, industry, and the government.”
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