"The logical next step for India is to regulate (gaming industry). It is too big an industry to ignore," said Kalyan Gudladana of casino technology provider Tykhe Gaming, during the India Gaming Conclave in New Delhi.
This was the unanimous view of the industry experts, gaming enthusiasts, and operators of the gaming industry, who got together to discuss legalising and regulating the gaming industry in India, at the conclave.
Gudladana added that, "We live in an unfortunate world where education isn't enough, we have to enforce the law." Often, self-regulation doesn't work because gaming operators want their business to do well and de-motivating a high roller isn't in their best interests.
Justice Dr. B.S. Chauhan, Former Judge Supreme Court of India and Chairman, Law Commission of India said negative attitude towards this activity emanates from the belief that this activity is susceptible to secrecy syndrome which promotes "collusive corruption".
"It is observed that betting and gambling are surrounded by the two sides i.e. a sense of excitement and a risk of self-inflicted damage. Thus an individual has to make a choice between the two. Indisputably, individual freedom is the basic right which we all look up to but the vulnerable sections of the society needs protection at the same time." He added that those in favour of legalising betting believe in the need to protect individual autonomy and minimum state interference, those disfavouring it believe that preserving societal order and morality is also important.
"Therefore, there is a need for reforms that aim at flexibility while ensuring freedom of choice for the consumers. Hence, there is a need to strike a balance between freedom and choice," Chauhan added.
"You have to have regulation to protect the integrity of the product," said Phil Harrison of Gaming testing specialist and technical consultancy Gaming Laboratories International. He added that it is important to identify the harms and then regulate by design, that is, engage with individual operators and industry stakeholders to create an institutional structure around gaming.
As more and more people access games such as poker, fantasy sports, rummy and others, there is also a spurt in impulsive behaviour. International experts across the world shared best practices in their respective countries. Catherine Chauvin of the French gaming operator Pari-Mutuel Urbain (PMU) said that not only wagery is banned for people under 18, the country has banned gambling on credit. Also, they have mystery customers continuously checking if rules are being followed by operators. The country has imposed limitations on the betting amount and the winning and losing amount too. There is also an attempt by countries to bring the gaming industry online so all transactions can be tracked and controlled.
Pranav Bagai, founder of India Poker Legend, a tournament series, to create Poker Sports League emphasized on the need to educate people and have a platform such as a helpline to manage extreme cases to prevent them from overextending themselves.