Online Gaming is a new phenomenon which has made an immense impact on the mass audience all over the globe. In the past years, online gaming has revolutionized the way we look at sports. From Counter-Strike to Dota2, Fortnite to PUBG and from Fantasy Cricket(websites like Funtush11) to Poker/Rummy, users all over the world spend money on it. These games generate huge revenues on daily basis on the platforms such as PlayStation, XBOX, PC, Mobile Phones, etc.
Congress senior leader Dr Shashi Tharoor surely isn’t the first person to acknowledge the fact that this industry is growing on a large scale. But, he was the first politician to introduce a private bill in Lok Sabha to supervise Online Gaming. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, wants a regulatory mechanism for the unorganised online gaming sector, which has seen massive traffic in the last couple of years.
“The main purpose of my bill is to preserve the integrity of sports. The bill is primarily divided into two parts for this purpose. One part recognises the offence of sports fraud and prescribes a special procedure to deal with it. The other part acknowledges the fact that the increasing commercial nature of sports increases financial incentives for vested interests to manipulate sporting events, therefore it provides for the regulation of online sports betting activities,” Tharoor said.
The main concern behind this bill is the gambling or betting sector, games involving the prediction of the results of a sporting event and placing a bet on the outcome, in part or in whole, by means of a telecommunication device. As fantasy gaming is in relation to an actual sporting event, it will also be covered by the ambit of this bill. Platforms like Dream11, Funtush11 and MyTeam11 are the most authentic fantasy sports websites that are currently running in India.
The first part of the Sports (Online Gaming & Prevention of Fraud) Bill deals with creating an offence of ‘sports fraud’ which includes manipulation of the result of a domestic or international sporting event in exchange of illegal gratification, the disclosure of inside information, misrepresentation of a sports participants age etc.
The second part of the Bill deals with the creation of a seven-member national-level Online Sports Gaming Commission that is tasked with regulating and licensing all online sports gaming in the country, coordinating with law enforcement agencies to crack down on illegal online sports betting and monitoring suspicious betting patterns with a view to identifying and tracking manipulation of sports games.
All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has reported that India has 120 million gamers and the number has seen more than a 30% jump on year in the last three years. The Law Commission of India has stated that the present market for online gaming is worth $360 million, which is expected to rise to $1 billion by 2021.
Roland Landers CEO, AIGF said, “There is an urgent need to have government intervention in order to streamline the industry, preserve the integrity of sports and eliminate sports fraud.AIGF is committed to dealing with issues pertaining to the online gaming industry.”