AIGF urges Rajasthan to bring skill-based virtual games under draft online gaming bill

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Self-regulatory online skill gaming body All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has urged the Rajasthan government to widen the scope of its draft law for virtual sports to bring different formats of online skill-based games like rummy and poker under the regulation, reported PTI.

The AIGF, in response to the Rajasthan Virtual Online Sports (Regulation) Bill 2022, has said that the scope of the bill should be extended beyond fantasy sports and e-sports. AIGF has suggested that any government recognition or exemption contemplated should be granted uniformly to all games of skill and not only to fantasy sports and esports. Earlier, ESFI questioned the inclusion of esports with fantasy sports.

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“We submit that all online games of skill including poker, rummy and casual games should be considered for any such regulation. We submit that such a step will be incomplete if only esports and fantasy sports operators are considered,” the AIGF said in its submission to the state government.

The Rajasthan government issued the draft bill last month wherein it proposes to regulate esports platforms and bar them from conducting simulated sports that are not recognised by any accredited sporting federation.

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Controversially, the day-to-day administration and regulation under the proposed enactment are delegated to a private self-regulatory organisation recognised by a gaming commission. The gaming commission is headed by a retired High Court judge and comprises a member with experience in sports federations and a retired government servant. The country has a number of self-regulatory bodies with AIGF and FIFS among the prominent ones.

The online skill gaming landscape in India has evolved significantly over the years, with an exponential growth rate year after the pandemic broke, attracting several marquee investors. The mobile gaming market in India is projected to hit a $5 billion opportunity by 2025 from the current $1.5 billion, according to a recent Sequoia India and Boston Consulting Group report.