By Tirtho Banerjee: Should online games such as rummy, poker and online fantasy games be tagged as gambling or a game of skill? Should loss limits be set for them?
Almost 65% out of 9,507 respondents said that online fantasy sports are akin to gambling or a game of chance with risks. Around 74% out of 12,602 people believed that the loss limit per game for online and fantasy gaming should be Rs 50-1,000, indicated a recent survey conducted by LocalCircles, a community social media platform.
SKILL OR CHANCE?
Even as platform operators term these games as games of skill, most people believe they are games of chance with inherent financial risks. Around 9,507 respondents were asked: Should online fantasy sports be considered as online gaming that involves wagering, betting and gambling? In response, nearly 2 out of 3 respondents (65%) chose “yes”, 14 % stated “no” and the remaining 21% gave no clear answer.
CAP ON LOSS
Online gaming (including fantasy gaming) poses a risk of financial loss and most playing them don’t realise this until it’s too late. Another question 12,602 respondents were asked was: If the State governments fail to ban them, how should loss to those playing be limited?
Around 32% opted “for an individual should have an upper limit of loss of Rs 50”; 12% said it should be Rs 100; 10% felt the limit could go up to Rs 500 and 20% said it should be Rs 1,000.
There are many text messages sent by online gaming portals which prompt you to get hooked on the thrill of playing with money.
In many cases, children and young adults have been the target of these messages. A total of 11,994 respondents were asked: Fantasy gaming platforms ask people to create a team for a fee and win money with no warnings. What should be the way forward in such communication/advertisement? As many as 91% said it should be banned completely, while only 6% felt it should be permitted but with appropriate warnings about financial risk involved.
In 2017, the Punjab High Court ruled that fantasy sports are a game of skill and not chance and the same was upheld by the Supreme Court.
On October 1 this year, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi gave a nod to an ordinance called the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Ordinance, 2022, banning online gambling and regulating online gaming in the state. Last week, the All India Gaming Federation moved Madras High Court challenging this ordinance. The petitioner before the court has contended that games like Poker and Rummy should not come under the ambit of “betting and gambling” as they are games which require skills.
The global digital media market has consistently been growing, with gaming accounting for the biggest share of market revenues, states J. Clement in a research report published in August 2022 on Statista.com.
The report states that “in 2020, the global online gaming market generated approximately $21.1 billion in revenues, which translates to a record 21.9% growth compared to the previous year. This boost was, of course, due to the global Covid-19 outbreak, which forced many people to stay at home and turn to digital avenues of entertainment and find new channels to connect with others. Currently, there are an estimated 1 billion online gamers worldwide with China, South Korea, and Japan having the biggest online gaming reach among the population. In 2025, online gaming audiences are projected to surpass 1.3 billion.”
A KPMG report has projected that the number of India’s online gamers is expected to jump from 43.3 crore in 2021 to 65.7 crore by 2025. The revenue of the online gaming industry stood at Rs 13,600 crore to which casual gamers contributed Rs 6,020 crore last year. The revenue of the Indian online gaming industry is expected to increase to Rs 29,000 crore with casual gamers contributing Rs 16,900 crore by 2025, the report pointed out.