Why self-regulation is fundamental to realising gaming’s potential in India
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Why self-regulation is fundamental to realising gaming’s potential in India

Skill gaming is one of the fastest growing ‘sunrise economies’ in India, according to Sunil Krishnamurthy – general secretary of the All India Gaming Federation Advisory Board (AIGF) – but without a self-regulated market, gaming’s economic potential cannot be fully realised.

Speaking as part of the BetConstruct sponsored gaming track on the second and final day of the SBC Digital India conference, Krishnamurthy addressed the regulatory landscape across India, highlighting the steps that AIGF has taken in regards to promoting its charter for Online Skill Gaming.

“We’ve taken a number of initiatives in terms of the charter and we push all our members towards this charter,” he said.

“This charter incorporates gender principles on legality, transparency, responsible gaming, financial responsibility… while the industry looks for regulatory certainty around games, such initiatives really gain importance.”   

The AIGF is the registered apex industry trade body for skill-based gaming in India. Established in June 2016 by industry stakeholders, it has more than 40 members across all online skill gaming categories.

Liaising with numerous state administrations, advertising ministries and government departments, AIGF aims to highlight the economic benefits that gaming can bring to the Indian economy.

Lauding the gaming sector as a fast-rising sector, Krishnamurthy noted that the industry has ‘proven’ itself throughout the last 12 months of the pandemic by beating the ‘economic downturn’ sweeping much of the world economies.

He continued: “It also contributes a humongous amount to the tune of Rs 90 crores to the exchequer in 2019. It also helped the national building by a lot of direct and indirect job creation and it continues to do so even further.

“There are a lot of growth drivers. The population in India under the age of 45 has really taken up online skill gaming in a very big way. There are also 560 million internet users and the proliferation of internet in India has been a big boom for this industry. 

“When it comes to game developers and even looking at entrepreneurs, we’ve seen that the gaming developers have really gone up multifold in the last two or three years. It’s almost to the tune of 300 currently.

“Esports and online gaming have really grown in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, a lot of proliferation of internet and smartphone which have helped the masses of those in tier-2 and 3 cities to showcase their skills, and the youngsters between the ages of 19-25 have really excelled in esports.”

Gaming across India, according to Krishnamurthy, has experienced considerable growth over the last few months – with this trend expected to continue in the coming years. 

Highlighting the findings from a report carried out by FICCI-Ernst & Young, analysts have predicted that the number of online gamers across India will grow from 365 million players in 2019 to almost 440 million by 2022.

So what has been the driving force behind this growth? The growing access to smartphones and roll out of 5G technology are considered to be two key factors.

He continued: “There’s also a perspective in terms of revenue where gaming is supposed to substantially contribute to the governments indirect tax collection. It’s estimated to be approximately INR9.8bn in 2019 and may swell to INR28.6bn by 2022. 

“Another major promotional thrust in nationwide popularity of esports and online gaming will emerge from soaring numbers of internet users in India. According to a recent Google KPMG report, the user base will grow to 735m by 2021, this will include 536m users of Indian language internet users.”

SBC Digital India is the premier online event for igaming in India and will deliver a fully virtual and interactive conference, exhibition and networking experience to delegates with an interest in the igaming industry.

Taking place from 27 – 28 January, the event includes a star studded roster of speakers and sessions over two days providing insight across igaming, skill games/DFS, casino and more.

To register for your free ticket, click here

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