Tha­roor Moves Bill to Reg­u­late On­line Gam­ing

Congress MP says govt over­sight needed to track sus­pi­cious bets and curb black money flow

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - Gau­[email protected] times­group.com

Mum­bai: Se­nior Congress leader and a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment from Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram, Shashi Tha­roor, in­tro­duced a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Par­lia­ment, seek­ing a reg­u­la­tory mech­a­nism for the largely un­or­gan­ised on­line gam­ing sec­tor, which has seen the en­try of many new play­ers in the last two years.

Tha­roor told ET that while sel­f­reg­u­la­tory prac­tices need to be fol­lowed by the in­dus­try, there is an ur­gent need to have a statu­tory frame­work with gov­ern­ment over­sight to en­sure ser­vice providers are fol­low­ing li­cense con­di­tions, to track sus­pi­cious bet­ting pat­terns and to have some con­trol over the money flow, to curb the gen­er­a­tion of black money. He said the coun­try needs a reg­u­la­tory body, like the one he has pro­posed, in his Sports (On­line Gam­ing and Pre­ven­tion of Fraud) Bill.

“The main pur­pose of my bill is to pre­serve the in­tegrity of sports. The bill is pri­mar­ily di­vided into two parts for this pur­pose. One part recog­nises the of­fence of sports fraud and pre­scribes a spe­cial pro­ce­dure to deal with it. The other part ac­knowl­edges the fact that the in­creas­ing com­mer­cial na­ture of sports in­creases fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives for vested in­ter­ests to ma­nip­u­late sport­ing events, there­fore it pro­vides for the reg­u­la­tion of on­line sports bet­ting ac­tiv­i­ties,” Tha­roor said.

As per the All In­dia Gam­ing Fed­er­a­tion (AIGF), In­dia has 120 mil­lion gamers and the num­ber has seen more than a 30% jump onyear in the last three years. The 276th re­port of the Law Com­mis­sion of In­dia said that the present mar­ket for on­line gam­ing is worth $360 mil­lion, which is ex­pected to rise to $1 bil­lion by 2021.

Tha­roor’s bill seeks to reg­u­late on­line sports gam­ing, which ba­si­cally means games in­volv­ing the pre­dic­tion of the re­sults of a sport­ing event and plac­ing a bet on the out­come, in part or in whole, by means of a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion de­vice. As fan­tasy gam­ing is in re­la­tion to an ac­tual sport­ing event, it will also be cov­ered by the am­bit of this bill.

“There is an ur­gent need to have gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion in or­der to stream­line the in­dus­try, pre­serve in­tegrity of sports and elim­i­nate sports fraud,” said Roland Lan­ders, CEO, AIGF. “...AIGF is com­mit­ted to deal­ing with is­sues per­tain­ing to on­line gam­ing in­dus­try.”

Bill sug­gests pro­ce­dure to deal with sports fraud & pro­vides for reg­u­la­tion of on­line sports bet­ting

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