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India cracks down on betting games
April 7, 2023

India cracks down on betting games

Reading Time: 2 minutes

India is cracking down on games that offer betting services by amending its IT Rules 2021 that will require self-regulatory bodies to ban apps that offer wagering.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of state for electronics and information technology, said at a press conference that online gambling and betting platforms presented challenges to New Delhi’s vision of open and safe internet. ‘We have seen over the last few months many startups running afoul of state laws, state rules and state regulations. We hope that these rules will create a much more stable, consistent and predictable framework for all those startups that are interested in the online gaming ecosystem.’

The Ministry of Electronics and IT has tasked the gaming industry, which represent a multi-billion dollars opportunity, to form self-regulatory bodies and in its amendment on Thursday said such bodies will determine what games are permitted in the country.

‘These rules don’t deal with all the nuances and sophistication of games of chance and games of skills. We are bypassing that by laying out a basic principle that the moment an online game trespasses into involving betting and wagering, regardless of its core content, then it falls afoul of these rules,’ he said.

Chandrasekhar said many online platforms have masqueraded as gaming have offered betting services and in some cases have been involved in criminal activities such as money laundering.

The ministry further said that online gaming firms will be required to undertake the know your customer verification before they allow users to spend any money. Additionally, online games will not be permitted, either directly or through a third-party, to offer credit financing options to their users.

The vast majority of betting games focus on IPL, a two-month long T20 cricket tournament. Revenue for fantasy sports is estimated to grow as much as 35% this year to over $375 million, according to consultancy firm Redseer. Fantasy sports startups insist that their offerings test customers’ skills and is different from gambling.

‘Steep growth in fantasy sports gaming will come from tier 2 cities driven by increasing adoption of fantasy platforms and cross-migration of users from other games. Increased internet accessibility will give a push to the IPL economy. Our estimates suggest that the average revenue per user is expected to grow from INR 410 ($5) in IPL 2022 to INR 440 ($5.37) per user in IPL 2023,’ the firm said.

‘The release of the new online gaming rules is a watershed moment for the industry, as it recognizes online gaming intermediaries and distinguishes them from gambling. The rules will go a long way in helping us realize our Hon’ble PM’s vision for India to become a global leader in gaming and also contribute to the continued success of brand India and create in India,’ said Harsh Jain, co-founder and chief executive of fantasy sports startup Dream11, in a statement.

Jagmeet Singh contributed to this report. 


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