One of the sectors that benefited from the coronavirus lockdowns is online gaming. Even though the activity was already growing so popular, it experienced a spike during the lockdowns. Online rummy and poker and fantasy sports games are some areas that increased greatly in popularity, especially among young Indians. The Madras High Court was right, in 2020, when it said, “To regulate physical sports, we are having a legislative set up, but having such a set up to deal with the emerging online games/virtual games is the need of the hour.” Indeed, with so much freedom online, there is a need to regulate gaming activities. There are so many casinos that can be accessed just by clicking on one’s phone. These casinos offer numerous games from top game providers, e.g. Evolution Gaming casinos. This in itself is not bad and the need for regulations does not put an end to it.
Game of Skill Vs. Game of Chance
India’s legal stance on the game of chance is quite popular. A game of chance is a game that relies heavily on luck and fortune rather than skill. These kinds of games have also been referred to as gambling or gaming by the Supreme Court of India. The game of skill, on the other hand, involves a certain kind of mastery, strategy, and intelligence developed by the player over time. For instance, chess and rummy are games of skill. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 declared a game of chance illegal but exempted the games of skill. Interestingly, this law does not cover online gaming. That means that there is no law legalizing online games or making them illegal in India.
Benefits of Regulation of Online Gaming
There are many advantages that the gaming sector will enjoy when there is an Indian regulatory body supervising it. Some of these are
- Uniformity: Presently, States have the liberty to make their laws. So, gaming houses can use this as an opportunity to align with the state whose laws agree with their intentions. This can be bad for citizens who enjoy playing online games as some of these intentions might be disadvantageous to them. But if there is uniformity in laws guiding online gaming in India, all states would have the same regulations and gaming companies will be forced to work with set down rules.
- Simplicity: The 1867 act on public gambling is more of a problem than a solution. The law is not clear on the difference between a game of chance and a game of skill. Various stares have interpreted it differently. For example, Poker was declared a game of chance by the Bombay High Court. But in Karnataka, it is a game of skill. Also, it is too old to fit into present realities and the evolution of games. Hence, there is a need to amend the law or change it completely.
- More Investments: Investors will have less concern as to whether they should invest in the sector or not when they are sure that it is guided by the government. This will further lead to more generation of revenue for those in the sector. And when there are funds, there would have the liberty to advance the sector technologically.
- Employment: When there is an expansion in the gaming sector, there would be an increase in the number of people employed by gaming companies. Thus, reducing the rate of unemployment in India.