Nazara’s Manish Agarwal optimistic about online real money gaming sector’s growth

Southern India, despite being an important market for real money games, has been tough on the sector with states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and lately Karnataka taking a belligerent approach towards the online gaming played for monetary stakes.

 Real money gaming operators have restricted access to residents of Karnataka after the state government notified the online gaming ban law for stakes with immediate effect on October 5.

Halaplay, a fantasy sports app that was recently acquired by Nazara Technologies also put out a notification on its website that individuals based out of Karnataka are not allowed to participate in the paid version of its league.

“In the last two months, there have been more positives than negatives (in the sector). I’m seeing that state governments are losing battles in their respective high courts and judgments are becoming sharper and clearer where there are black and white rather than grey. Given that the space is so large and new, there will be constant challenges but our view is that over the next four to eight quarters, things will start becoming more clear and firm,” Nazara Technologies CEO Manish Agarwal informed MoneyControl.com.

ALSO READKarnataka Online Gaming Ban: FICCI urges state govt to reconsider law

Amid concerns triggered by the aforementioned act, reports have emerged that technology companies are preparing to challenge the Karnataka government’s move. 

Nazara Technologies on Wednesday announced that its board has approved preferential allotment of fresh equity to raise Rs 315.30 crore from marquee institutional investors.

Nazara is expected to distribute a hefty percentage of those funds across four of their verticals- gamified learning, skill-based real-money gaming, freemium games, and esports, which the firm terms as the “Friends of Nazara” network. Despite multiple bans, obstacles, and increasing uncertainties in this sector, Agarwal is bullish on the real money gaming front.

“The overall market is very large, around Rs 11,000-13,00 crore, and the business has very strong network effects of trusted brands, concurrent users, and liquidity pool on the platform. You cannot really compete in the market with being a really small player. If we can consolidate some of the companies in the market, we will be able to create a formidable position for us to be able to compete on unit economics with deeply entrenched players” said Agarwal to MoneyControl.com

ALSO READ: Indian Online Gaming Industry to be worth 3.9 billion dollars by 2025

Nazara Technologies is India’s first listed gaming company that is backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Over the past year, it has been on an acquisition spree having bought a 100 percent stake in Hyderabad-based skill gaming company OpenPlay for 186.5 crores in August. Their other real money acquisitions include the social quizzing app Qunami and Halaplay.

NODWIN Gaming, an independent subsidiary of Nazara Technologies, has acquired gaming and adjacent IP business of OML Entertainment. NODWIN Gaming has agreed to a consideration of Rs 73 crore as part of an agreement concluded between NODWIN Gaming and OML Entertainment.