Real-money gaming companies get a lifeline after bruising battles with states

Real-money gaming companies get a lifeline after bruising battles with states

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Soumya Gupta

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Soumya Gupta

35 reads

The central government’s draft rules promise to ease the uncertainty and ban fears gaming apps face in India. But will states known to take a hard stance play ball? And what about the vexing issue of taxes?

January 04, 2023

5 MINS READ

Real-money gaming apps — platforms to play online poker, rummy and more — spent years defending their trade in India. While they wanted to be accepted as legitimate, skill-based activities, many states slapped the inglorious label of betting on them, which meant a ban. 

So, a buzzy industry, projected by FICCI-EY to reach revenues of about Rs 10,000 crore in 2024, found itself repeatedly in courts. There were some notable wins, no doubt. But the underlying issues of how these companies should be viewed, and regulated, did not change.

This week, the needle finally moved. The central ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) unveiled draft rules for online gaming, proposing to identify the businesses as intermediaries on a par with social-media firms. Essentially, a path is being laid out so that they can operate with some certainty.

States still have the authority to prohibit any game they deem gambling or betting. A central framework, however, may prod them to avoid initiating the harshest step in every instance. Though their ultimate reaction is a big unknown, the industry is looking at the brighter side of things.

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