Industry associations such as E-Gaming Federation, All India Gaming Federation and Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports contend that while certain online games are permissible under central rules, the states may still go ahead and ban them.
These bodies plan to approach the governments of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam and Telangana over the issue, industry executives told ET.
The E-Gaming Federation counts among its members Games24x7 and Junglee Games while the All India Gaming Federation comprises the likes of Zupee, GamesKraft, Paytm First Games and MPL. The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports includes Dream11 and Fantasy Akhada, in addition to over a dozen fantasy sports startups.
It is learnt that gaming companies have already conveyed to the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) that despite the newly-notified central rules, gambling and betting continue to be state subjects, with the states having authority to prohibit such games.
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The industry should “be able to go to the states and advocate that there is a new set of rules notified by the central government,” a MeitY official told ET on condition of anonymity.
“If there are some state governments that are not getting on board, the industry can flag it with the Centre, and the ministry will make the effort of raising it with the states thereafter,” the official added.
As per the central rules issued by MeitY in April, while real money gaming will be allowed, online games that allow wagering on an outcome are not allowed. However, the government has left it to the self-regulatory organisations (SROs) that are expected to be notified soon to decide on what will constitute wagering.
“If the lack of definition of wagering on an outcome is read together with laws of the land, and if state governments determine that a particular platform allows gambling, they can still potentially be banned,” an executive at a gaming company told ET.
These concerns, while primarily affecting gaming platforms in the fantasy sports and card games space, are likely to impact other real money games too, the executive said.
“Meity officials have said they would step in and reach out to states if, even after companies approach them, there is no change in stance,” the executive added.