India Introduces New Gaming Panel To Regulate Online Gaming

There have been further steps forward toward the legalisation of gambling in India, after the creation of a new panel to regulate online gaming.

A seven-member panel featuring various national ministers from the Modi government are being tasked with identifying a nodal ministry to oversee a sector that many officials view as a sunrise industry in India.

Among its tasks is promoting online gaming and framing regulatory mechanisms for the protection of gamers, business principles, and much more.

The establishment of a uniform government authority has been welcomed by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), which said in a statement: “This step indicates the impetus that the government is willing to provide for the growth of India’s online gaming industry. The task force is a big step in creating regulatory certainty for the nascent and fast-growing online gaming industry.”

Others in the Indian casino online industry are also welcoming the news, which is seen as another strong step towards gambling legislation.

Panel To Look At Global Best Practices For Inspiration

India isn’t the first territory to take tentative steps towards gambling regulation, and they won’t be the last. There is a raft of licensing authorities from which to learn and explore – including United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and Swedish Gaming Authority (SGA).

It is reported that the panel will pay particular attention to legal and legislative frameworks used in the above-mentioned regulatory agencies to help knit together guidelines that can be deemed acceptable to local Indian regions that hold anti-gambling sentiments.

Experts argue that one of the major advantages to gambling legislation is the ability to eradicate bad actors from murky waters of black market betting.

One group of international industry analysts – ENV Media – believes there is an urgent need to clean out irresponsible actors from an industry that has enjoyed decades of deregulation.

Their view is echoed in this article: “In an unregulated, banned market, irresponsible actors and criminals are given better opportunities to take advantage of their victims. Authentic operators will only use secure payment methods and licensed game providers, and will follow stringent verification processes to eliminate fraudulent activity within the online gambling sector.”

Is The Establishing Of The Panel A Further Sign Of Gambling Legalisation?

The forming of a regulatory panel comes hot on the heels of a new online gambling bill introduced to the Lok Sabha on 1st April.

It provides India with an offramp from a 155-year-old Public Gambling Act 1867 law, which has been interpreted and twisted in several manners since its inception, none of which hold up in the modern age of real money casino apps.

However, the same article referenced above also highlights:: “One of the aspects of the bill that’s important to keep in mind is that it attempts to place real money gaming and real money gambling under the same bill. It’s clear that M.P. Dean Kuriakose, who introduced the bill, could use the help of people experienced with regulated markets to gain a better understanding of how vastly different a game with real money features is from a game entirely based on real money activity.”

The bill also moves to criminalise use of unlicensed operators for the users – an aspect that has drawn criticism from the group: “It’s also important to note that this bill wishes to criminalise the use of unlicensed platforms, meaning that a player can be fined for utilising them.  Successful regulated markets tend to work towards restricting access to unregulated operators while limiting fines to local licensed actors who breach the law rather than punishing the users. As, if there is a good, regulated, and safe product, players will opt to use that one over illegal ones.

There is a general consensus, though, that the bill is a net positive for the pursuit of sensible regulation of the gambling industry.

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