Central Govt to meet real money gaming company officials tomorrow: Report

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In a first, officials from multiple central government ministries are scheduled to meet representatives of real money gaming companies. The meeting, as first reported by Outlook will be held at Conference Room No.1007, Ministry of Electronics and IT, Electronics Niketan, 6 CGO Complex, New Delhi.

Apart from MeitY, the meeting will be attended by representatives of the Home, Information and Broadcasting, sports and youth affairs and NITI Aayog.  “The Central government has recognised the contribution of the skilled online games industry of approximately creating over 2 lakh jobs and reaching an economy of USD 2 Billion in just five years. I do believe these are the first steps toward ring-fencing sectors with high potential so that they can be nurtured and their full potential harnessed for the country’s good,” said Amrit Kiran Singh of unicorn Gameskraft quoted by Outlook.

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.  According to the Indian constitution, online gaming is a state subject. Several states like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala (rummy), Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have enacted laws imposing blanket bans on games played for stakes. In the last two years or so, the real money gaming business sector has received favourable orders from courts on the constitutional validity of the business.

A few weeks back, the Rajasthan government released a draft bill on online gaming regulation limiting the scope to fantasy and esports creating a furore in the industry.  On Saturday, the ESports Federation objected to the draft Rajasthan Bill that clubs pure skill games like esports which are recognised by Olympic Association with fantasy games.

In this background, an inter-ministerial committee by the Centre was formed to recommend ways to regulate online gaming uniformly across the states. Reports indicate that the Prime Minister’s Office has been diligently observing the online gaming scene and wants to introduce enabling legislation of some kind. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) in April announced that in pursuance of the announcement made by the Finance Minister in her budget speech, the government had set up an AVGC promotion task force.

NITI Aayog, the government think-tank had taken an initiative two years ago but the gaming companies objected to the fact that the draft regulation which heavily favoured fantasy sports. Last June, in an RTI response it was revealed that PMO has sought information from NITI Aayog on the draft regulation.