Online gaming has become one of the biggest phenomenon that we have seen in the 2018, all around the world. And India was not too far behind in this respect as well, and saw online gaming become extremely popular with games like PUBG taking the forefront. And now senior Congress Member of Parliament, Shashi Tharoor has introduced a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha which proposes a regulatory measures for the online gaming industry which is unorganized at the moment. He argues that this is required now, more than ever because the country has seen high growth of the industry in the last couple of years.
“The main purpose of my bill is to preserve the integrity of sports. The bill is primarily divided into two parts for this purpose. One part recognizes the offence of sports fraud and prescribes a special procedure to deal with it. The other part acknowledges the fact that the increasing commercial nature of sports increases financial incentives for vested interests to manipulate sporting events, therefore it provides for the regulation of online sports betting activities,” Tharoor said.
Tharoor, speaking to ET, has said that there is immediate need to have statutory framework along with oversight from the government to ensure that the service providers follow licensing conditions and keep track of illegal betting patterns and practices. These will help curb the creation of black money and regulate the flow of finances in the industry. He added that something in the lines of his Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill is required along with a regulatory body.
According to a report by All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), India currently has 120 million gamers and the which is 30 percent increase seen in the last three years. The 276th report of the Law Commission of India claims that presently the online gaming industry is valued at $360 million, and is expected to grow to $1 billion by the year 2021.
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The bill proposed by Tharoor plans to regulate games that involve prediction and betting on the results of sporting events using telecommunications devices. Roland Landers, CEO of AIGF commented on this saying, “There is an urgent need to have government intervention in order to streamline the industry, preserve integrity of sports and eliminate sports fraud. AIGF is committed to dealing with issues pertaining to online gaming industry.”