AIGF applauds Cyberabad Police for busting illegal offshore gambling apps

The apex online skill gaming industry body, All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has praised the operations of the Cyberabad Police that busted an illegal cricket betting racket in Hyderabad. 

Commenting on the same, Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation states, “AIGF has always been at the forefront of highlighting the menace of illegal offshore gambling websites and apps to the relevant authorities. We would like to laud the Cyberabad Police for recently busting the illegal offshore cricket betting racket. We fully support the state government’s efforts to eradicate illegal offshore gambling apps from the state.”

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He further added “However, we sincerely feel there needs to be a clear distinction between illegal gambling and games of skill. Some recent media reports have unfortunately clubbed esports and online skill gaming apps that offer games of skill (as defined by the Supreme Court and various High Courts of the country) with gambling.”

Online skill gaming apps in India offer games that are classified as games of skill such as chess, carrom, archery, fantasy cricket, and more. In States where online gaming for stakes is not permitted, these apps only offer free-to-play versions of their games, operating under the ambit of the law. Clubbing such skill gaming apps with offshore gambling services only undermines a burgeoning sunrise industry.  

Landers also stated “We understand from media reports that the state government is working on a policy to allow genuine online skill gaming companies to operate in the state with safeguards. One of the most notable practices that we follow is that all AIGF member stakeholders are governed by the self-regulatory Skill Games Charter that ensures player protection and responsible gaming practices.” 

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Real Money Gaming as one segment that awaits a national uniform framework with set regulations despite repeated demands from various stakeholders. The fledgling yet fast-moving online gaming sector is being crystallised every day with new recommendations and bills to regulate, sustain and protect it.

With the passage of Karnataka Police Amendment Bill, the demand to define and distinguish skill-based games from gambling has been reverberating through the online gaming sector.

Before the bill had even passed Landers had shared his concerns in a statement. He had shared, “The move by the Karnataka government in tabling the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Compliance Act, 2021 act (passed late September 21) can be seen as a setback to the state’s reputation of being a tech-hub and start-up capital.”

Being the fifth largest online gaming market globally and skill-based gaming, India has spawned to a bevy of unicorns within the country, especially Karnataka. The sector has been a strong financial contributor to the Indian economy and is further expected to generate revenues in excess of $3 billion by 2025.