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Indian Government Calls for Unequivocal Gambling RegulationsAlthough gambling is illegal in India, citizens of the Asian region purportedly take part in offshore iGaming. Some call for outright bans, but the government leans toward state-based approvals.
A government panel in India released a report that specifies creating a regulatory body and classifying online games based on skill or chance. According to a report from international media sources, the panel suggests prohibiting certain forms of iGaming once the categories are in place.
Party leader Anbumani Ramadoss from the PMK demands a blanket ban on all online gambling practices in the country. However, the panel motions for regulating certain classes while other forms of gambling will be illegal. The challenge the country faces sprouts from ambiguous laws relating to gaming vs gambling.
Currently, all forms of gambling, or games of chance, are banned in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi commissioned a panel earlier this year to establish the best way forward with online gaming regulations, following an influx of illegal providers and a rise in the popularity of remote gaming.
A rise in reports of severe gambling harm prompted MP Ramadoss' demand on prohibition for any games of chance using real money. Media reports cite that the proposal includes classifying harmful games, but individual states in the country gain authority to approve online gambling.
Purportedly, the panel suggests the creation of a new regulatory body under the IT ministry of India. The regulator must determine which games qualify as skill-based games and which are games of chance and enforce relevant laws as determined per class.
Measures to Safeguard Players
According to the panel, the current IT laws can enforce interim measures while the government assembles an appropriate body geared specifically for the gaming sector. As the Prime Minister's committee advises, new regulations should include GEO blocking permission and guidelines on interaction when harmful behaviour transpires.
According to an advisory published by the Union government, gambling advertising is not allowed, and MP Ramadoss advised that sports stars and actors already show cooperation by rejecting partnerships with gambling firms.
The Indian trade group, FICCI, reported gaming revenues of $817 million in 2020, and one year later, India recorded 95 million paying gamers in the country. According to FICCI and a consulting firm from the country, 71% of the revenues came from transaction-based, real money iGaming. An influx of offshore gambling companies targeting Indian punters poses a major threat to players and revenues.
Change is Imminent
Once the IT ministry approves, the cabinet secretariat must sign off on the legislation and stipulate an enforcement timeline. Operators who hope to offer remote gambling services to Indian players will face approval at a state level, although the government aims to classify most gambling as harmful activities.
Increased demand from the citizens of India shows the potential for a regulated market, and although the proposed rules are rigid, it is a step in the right direction.
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