India’s Gaming Industry
The booming online gaming sector has been self-regulating for years but has so far received no formal recognition or government support. Industry associations are eager to get an independent compliance audit and set up concrete standards for consumer protection and responsible business practices.
A Quality Certificate for Desi Gaming Companies
The All India Gaming Federation (AIFG), one of the most active champions of the nation’s gaming and tech startup branch, has named Arthur D. Little (ADL) an independent compliance auditor in an industry-first attempt to create quality charter certification. Indian gaming unicorn MPL was announced as the first company to undergo the audit procedure.
ADL is a renowned management consulting firm with an international track record of evaluating and managing business change. Currently, the skill gaming industry and Pure Win real-money game platforms adhere to strict yet informal self-regulation. This approach has done little to improve the sector’s reputation and distinguish desi gaming startups from black-market operators.
The AIGF is hopeful such a high-profile auditor can give more weight to the skill gaming industry’s efforts to get the necessary attention from legislators. The top online and mobile gaming providers already implement a series of internal checks that promote responsible gambling and a safe gaming experience.
A more structured approach, however, should gain support for stakeholder proposals and a more transparent regulatory regime on a Central level. AIGF’s CEO, Roland Landers, was quoted evoking support by relevant policy makers in a drive to raise awareness of the hurdles that India’s gaming and related tech businesses are facing.
It’s All Been Done Before
Most of the proposals and good practices, in fact, have been part of successful online regulations and gaming licensing systems around the world. AIGF plans for at least seven key elements to undergo auditing – user verification, player protection, financial integrity, responsible gaming mechanisms, advertising standards, legal and gaming compliance, as well as conflict redressal.
Mature gaming markets (i.e. most of Europe, Australia) have had similar regulatory standards for years. Central licensing systems, for example, have proven efficient in supporting a sustainable gambling industry and, what’s more important, player protection. The proper legal structure needs to be set up on a national level, even if States remain free to add more requirements and controls.
Industry case studies show that gaming companies are keen on more checks and quality standards since they appreciate a level playing field, at least domestically. Such an approach is more efficient in keeping away aggressive offshore competitors that are unable to guarantee consumer protection and local licensing conditions. Online gambling and skill gaming compliance extends to other aspects as well – taxation and anti-money laundering procedures, payment security, sports integrity and reporting mechanisms.
India’s gaming developers, operators and tech startups are hoping that being upfront and collaborating with authorities is the right way to do business. Skill-based online games have repeatedly upheld in court their constitutional right to operate across the Union. Now, it’s time for legislators to make sure a potentially thriving sector is not stifled by the lack of clear rules, regulations and quality standards.
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