Rajasthan High Court

For the online gaming sector, these are excellent opportunities. According to forecasts from consulting firm Deloitte, the business in India is projected to develop at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% to $2.8 billion by 2022, driven by smartphone penetration, low-cost data, an increase in broadband customers, and a young population as one of the country's fastest-growing breakthrough industries.

 However, in the lack of a policy, regulatory ambiguities become a hindrance to the sunrise industry's expansion, and experts believe that state governments' support for the sector through a policy will prove to be a lifeline.

Regulation and not prohibition leads to better outcomes. Adding that a progressive online skill gaming policy can create favourable outcomes for industry, government, and the civic.

Bhavin Pandya, co-founder and CEO of Games24x7, a multi-game platform that owns popular games RummyCircle and fantasy sports platform, My11Circle told Times of India.

It's worth noting that Niti Aayog released a fantasy sports drafting guideline the year before.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi only a year ago stated that India should take advantage of the industry's enormous potential and lead the international digital gaming sector by developing games which are influenced by Indian culture and folk tales.

On the regulatory front, the industry has recently seen some green shoots of promise. 

Meghalaya and Sikkim are among the states that have announced their online skill gaming policies. The state government of Uttar Pradesh has also formed a commission to create a law that distinguishes between games of  skill and games of chance. In an affidavit filed in the high court earlier this week, the Karnataka government also stated that it is working on a regulatory scheme for the sector.

Rajasthan, like most major states, is thought to be thinking about how to deal with this burgeoning industry, and the industry is hoping that the Ashok Gehlot government can actually deal with a progressive regulatory mechanism for the sector based on the distinction between games of skill and games of chance that can serve as a proof of concept for other states.

“Because many of the games involve real money, some people mistakenly believe they are gambling, but industry experts point out that, according to Supreme Court orders, games of skill such as rummy, bridge, and fantasy sports are not gambling, and that state governments must remove any restrictions.”

MPL co-founder and CEO Sai Srinivas noted that digital games of skill and esports have been on the rise in India for the past few years, focusing attention on the increase seen in the online gaming market. MPL has worked with over 30 game developers to onboard more than 70 games on its platform since its inception in 2018. However, we have seen this ascent become a lot steeper in the past couple of years, as investor interest in this sunrise sector began to boom.

Srinivas made a point.

The Free Press Journal reported earlier this year that the Rajasthan state government announced planning to prohibit online gambling and betting.

Presently, yet there are no penalties in place in the state for gambling and betting.

The state government, on the other hand, will introduce a law in the current assembly session to make online gambling a criminal offence with harsh penalties including imprisonment term and large fines.

The government has approved an amendment to the Rajasthan Public Gaming Ordinance 1949, which considers online gambling and betting to be a societal ill. The bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives soon.

The Rajasthan Public Gaming (Prevention) Bill 2021 contains stringent restrictions aimed at prohibiting internet gambling and betting. 

The new law applies to both those who operate gaming establishments and those who gamble. The home department drafted the law, which was approved by the cabinet through circulation.

According to officials, the new law has increased the punishment and fine. Each year, the police register over 50,000 cases under the Gambling Act, and thousands of people are arrested. Yet, practically all criminals are discharged because the current law makes no provision for punishment.