Why Distinguishing Between Gaming And Gambling Is Key

Leading gambling experts are criticizing an opinion piece from the Financial Express for its stance on amending the current IT Act to regulate online gaming.The piece, titled Amend IT Act To Regulate Online Gaming, makes several interesting recommendations but doesn’t address the need for online gambling to have its own regulatory framework – instead focusing on the potential of legalizing online skill gaming.

There is a broad consensus in the online gambling community that for a safe, acceptable online gambling environment to flourish in India, there needs to be a specific set of guidelines put in place by a uniform body that differentiates between gambling and skill gaming.Why are experts warning against conflating online gaming and online gambling? What do proposed regulatory frameworks look like? How can India learn from other mature markets?

The Difference Between Online Gaming And Gambling Regulations

The core argument of the Financial Express article is that online gaming is a different animal from online gambling, a stance with which many in the online gambling sector agrees.

The characterization in the piece that skill money gaming is a nobler pursuit than real money teen patti, for example, and therefore deserves a special regulatory approach, is not as warmly received. It reads: “In order to call out what is ugly, there is an urgency for the Centre to identify and impose penalties on real sites where people indulge in betting or gambling.”

Many in the industry believe a mature, modern approach to regulation is required for ALL forms of gambling to be safe and secure in India.

The reaction to a new online gambling bill introduced in India in the Lok Sabha has drawn significant criticism by observers for not distinguishing between games of skill and gambling.

There is one obvious reason why the two shouldn’t be thrown into the same regulatory basket, according to a panel of experts from a leading online analysis website.

In a report pinpointing the pitfalls of a new gambling bill passed in India, a panel of industry experts argue:

“It’s clear that M.P. Dean Kuriakose, who introduced the bill, could use the help of people experienced with regulated markets to gain a better understanding of how vastly different a game with real money features is from a game entirely based on real money activity.”

In her article analyzing the new Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill, 2022, the Chief Editor of SevenJackpots Casino Felicia Wijkander points out:

“An online casino shouldn’t be regulated in the same way as, for example, a gaming platform offering a first-person shooter game with optional real money features. These games are widely different, and trying to fit them under one umbrella is a recipe for disaster.”

What Is The IT Act Amendment Suggestion?

The commentary argues for a lot of what gambling sector experts also believe is crucial to maximizing the potential of India’s fervent online gambling scape.

The piece in the Financial Express states: “A central law covering is crucial to the future of India’s online skill gaming industry. A clear and well-regulated regime would pave the way for increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). It will not only boost this sector but also increase transparency and operator accountability to Indian laws. It will also allow consumers to enjoy gaming in a responsible, transparent, and safe environment that is governed by regulations.”

The online gambling industry echoes those sentiments and demands but from a separate standpoint. Thousands play popular live casino games that do not fall under the skill gaming category and deserve their own regulatory requirements, experts believe.

The SevenJackpots article sums its arguments for uniform regulation of the gambling sector by citing the overwhelming benefits:

“Gambling regulation is a tool for governments to ensure that their people only have access to safe means of gambling. And not only that, but regulation also makes sure that those offering the gambling products are being respectful of the market in which they act. This is ensured by taxation and licensing fees, funds that go back into India’s economy instead of disappearing into the pockets of foreign offshore companies as they do today.”

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