News2022 May Be A Monster Year For Regulated India...

2022 May Be A Monster Year For Regulated India Online Gaming, Industry Stakeholders Say

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The game is far from over for India’s online gaming industry. In fact, 2022 is shaping up to be what analysts forecast as a “golden period” for the country’s business landscape, even though regulators have yet to make up their mind on how to best approach the question of is gambling legal in India, and how to regulate the thriving industry.

 

99Games founder: We need 1,000 gaming startups to bloom

The pandemic has made a deep impact around the world, especially when it comes to people’s consumption habits as they are forced to do more things online now than ever before. This is even more evident in the gaming market particularly in game-friendly India, which has leveled up during COVID-19 and now leads the global online gambling growth.

2021 saw the rise of real money gaming, according to 99Games founder Rohith Bhat. In an interview with Moneycontrol, Bhat described the past year as the “banner year for gaming from an investment perspective” even amidst the regulatory challenges that the industry is facing. This year would be a great time for gaming startups to “bloom” and go on to create a billion-dollar game, he said.

“It’s a great time for 1,000 gaming startups to bloom in the country—small teams planning to do something big. Out of the 1,000, maybe 100 might reach one particular stage and 5-10 might go on to create a billion-dollar game. That’s what I am betting on,” Bhat said.
These startups may benefit by looking into blockchain- and NFT-based gaming, which Bhat expects will “become more predominant in the days to come.” NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are non-interchangeable units of data stored on a digital ledger like blockchain for public proof of ownership—they can’t be replaced with another unit, but they can be associated with items that are easily reproduced, e.g., digital art, photos, audio, and video. However, the prices of the tokens tend to fluctuate depending on the current perceived value of the market, which leads to the question: does the NFTs space need regulatory oversight like the online gaming industry does?

 

To build India for the world, comprehensive regulation is necessary

At the moment, the domestic gaming industry is operating on a largely gray regulatory landscape, where playing on online casino sites and real money gaming isn’t illegal because there is no legislation that bars online gambling operations in the country. This an opportune moment as the local gaming market has seen a dramatic rise in the number of players with more consumers going digital for their favorite casual entertainment.
Veteran legislators like Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Modi have already echoed the sentiments of industry stakeholders on the importance and advantages that a comprehensive regulation for online gaming will bring the country. In December, the senior BJP leader brought up the need for an independent regulatory body that will oversee Big Tech firms in India, including online gaming operators and service providers.

And with 2022 looking more likely to bring in more global startups in India, analysts believe that an “open regulatory environment” is necessary for the country’s business landscape to flourish.

Viral Jani, EVP & Country Head, India, Times Bridge, wrote in an opinion piece for the Times of India: “The Indian business landscape is far more open and accessible for global companies, as compared to some of the world’s biggest economies. The increased focus towards welcoming forging investments in the country has further unlocked India’s potential and accelerated the growth of its economy.”

Given that India is still an emerging market, compared to other mature gaming markets around the world, the government stands to better benefit from the wins of the thriving online gaming industry if it has a better regulatory framework in place.

The SevenJackpots report on “What should India’s gambling regulation look like?” summed up why regulation is important for a thriving market like India. The bottom line, according to the SevenJackpots analysts, is that “When an industry the size and importance of Indian gaming is exposed to risks, it is in the public interest to require legitimate companies to follow high operational standards. With benefits ranging from consumer protection to taxation and job creation, bringing more transparency into the sector will stimulate investor interest and produce spillover benefits for society at large.”

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Soha
Writer, Social Worker.

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