Source: The post is based on the article “The blurred lines between gaming and gambling” published in The Hindu on 27th January 2023.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Governance
Relevance: concerns associated with the online gaming industry
News: Some online gaming such as rummy and poker involves financial risks. Despite this, they are not considered as gambling.
What are the issues with games like poker and rummy?
Poker and rummy are some of the online games which involve financial risks, i.e., users either can win or lose money in it. These games are called online gambling apps in parts of the world.
However, in India, these games are known as Real Money Gaming or RMG.
The reasons are that these gaming platforms say that rummy and poker are ‘games of skill’ and therefore don’t fall into the category of betting and gambling.
The Constitution gives States the power to regulate betting and gambling. Since these games are considered as RMG, it becomes difficult for the state to regulate it.
Further, even courts have held that playing games such as poker and rummy requires and rewards application of mind and doesn’t constitute gambling.
What efforts have been taken by the government to regulate such online games?
Tamil Nadu has attempted to define and restrict these platforms by enacting a law to restrict online gaming. However, the effort at prohibition was struck down by the Madras High Court.
Last year, the Union Home Department held a consultation with the stakeholders of online game industry but the submissions were not made public.
Further, the Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology has said that any game that allows or permits gambling is dangerous.
However, the draft that regulates online gaming only contains safeguards for such platforms instead of regulating it.
What can be the way ahead?
In order to come up with proper regulatory measures for online gaming, it’s necessary to provide what constitutes the real money gaming industry and what not. Then only, it would become easier to regulate gambling apps.