BW Businessworld

We Have A Vision For Developing Skills-Based Responsible Gaming In India: Roland Landers

'The gaming industry is so large that it can provide the basis for various sources that the government may wish to use'

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), which has been pushing for the legislation of sports betting since its formation, believes the future of gaming industry in India is in skill based gaming. Poker, Rummy or any fantasy league games, all are loosely based around the mechanism of betting. There is a stigma attached to these games in India, despite of games like Rummy being declared skill based by the Supreme Court of India. In countries like the UK where betting is legal, the government generates huge revenues which are then used for various social causes.

In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, Roland Landers, CEO of AIGF, talks about his vision for the gaming industry in India, AIGF 's agenda and the promotion of responsible gaming in India.

What are the regulations that you are looking for the gaming Industry in India?

Gaming in India is a state subject right now. Our agenda is to have a wholesome legislation for gaming in India at a central level. In India, only two states currently allow gambling through their offline licences. Goa and Sikkim. We are in talks with the government for the same. We are working along with bodies like the Law Commission of India. We believe even if 3-4 states would be on board with us, that could set the context for a central legalisation.

What is the current scenario of the gaming industry in India?
Right now, games like rummy, poker and fantasy league are prevalent and growing in the Indian market. We are talking about skill based and chance based gaming which need regulation in India. The numbers in this space are enormous. There are threats associated with this obviously. But our prime focus right now is to develop the Indian gaming industry in such a way that it is responsible, well regulated, objectively taxed and does best for everyone associated to it.

With the boom in online gaming space, there is a thriving threat for cybercrime, how will you curb that?
We, at AIGF, believe in and promote responsible gaming. By responsible gaming we mean complete and full protection and security of the player. All the data, information to remain in full secrecy. We also look at other aspects of responsible gaming like, access to under age players, or burning a hole in the players by buying in way more than they can afford on online gaming. Strict measures to prevent irresponsibility in gaming is at the top of our priority list.

What is your vision for the future of gaming industry in India?
We, at AIGF, urge the government to regulate the gaming industry in India. The industry should be taxed objectively. The gaming industry is so large that it can provide the basis for various sources that the government may wish to use. Many countries across the world make huge revenues form their regulated gaming industry and use the funds for various social causes. If the government looks at it objectively it can create an entire value chain which would create jobs, promote tourism as well. We are also urging the government to ease the norms on FDI in gaming industry.

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