India, online gaming, AIGF

India’s move to set up an inter-ministerial panel to study regulations for skill-based online gambling has been welcomed as a “step in the right direction” for the burgeoning industry.

The seven-member panel includes secretaries of home affairs, revenue, industries and internal trade, electronics and IT, information and broadcasting, sports and think tank Niti Aayog. It will look into various aspects to promote online gaming and frame regulatory mechanisms for the segment, protection of gamers and ease of doing business.

The establishment of the panel was first reported by Indian media, citing an unnamed source. 

Roland Landers, AIGF
Roland Landers, CEO, AIGF

“It is a good day for the online skill gaming industry and we laud the government’s move to take a step towards setting up a task force to work on the guidelines for this sunrise sector,” said Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) in a written response to the news. “We have been championing to have central guidelines for this sector for over a decade now as the apex industry body for online skill gaming and it is rewarding to see our efforts getting acknowledged. 

“This task force will not only examine issues faced by the online skill gaming industry, but also understand the global best practices and will help in bringing in a comprehensive and uniform central regulatory regime for a responsible, transparent and safe online skill gaming environment.”

“This is a step in the right direction to achieve maximum potential of the burgeoning online skill gaming industry and is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s vision of making India’s digital gaming sector a global powerhouse.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that online skill-based games, such as poker and rummy, are legal, though the issue of regulation is decided on a state-by-state basis. Many state governments have sought to ban all gambling, resulting in a series of court battles as the industry seeks to establish its right to exist. 

A recent report by the U.K. India Business Council found that a lack of robust regulation was one of the key factors holding back the industry.