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Should There be a Central Law for the Gaming Sector? There have been mixed reactions in the industry regarding central law

By Saptak Bardhan

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Gaming has been touted as the 'next-big thing' for the Indian economy. Emerged in 2020 as a heavyweight, gaming has been an active part of the Indians for some time now. According to IBEF, India's gaming market size is estimated to be $2.6 billion in FY22 estimated to reach $8.6 billion by FY27 growing at a compound annual growth rate of 27 per cent.

Gaming was recognized as one of the potential sectors for job creation. Furthermore, the ministry of broadcasting announced the AVCG Centre of Excellence in 2020 in an attempt to cement the gaming sector as a major wealth generator for the country. The ministry of broadcasting was allocated a sum of Rs. 3980.77 crore by the government last year.

Recently, Union minister for electronics and information technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw highlighted that 19 states had passed laws regulating online gaming and gambling. The laws were passed in order to ensure the safety of users and prevent illegal activities. He also emphasised a central act to regulate online gaming as well as gambling in the country. Vaishnaw stated that the different states have different regulations and called for a uniform law to regulate the industry.

There have been mixed reactions in the industry regarding central law.

"Implementing a central law to regulate Apps such as Teen Patti, Poker, Rummy, Fantasy, online gambling/betting, etc. is a positive step forward. It is important for the central law to accurately categorize/define these types of Apps and Platforms in a manner consistent with how the rest of the world defines them, as "igaming" instead of "online gaming," said Yugal Kishore Sharma, director, Esports Federation of India.

"Implementing a central law is very debatable. It does make a lot of sense when we talk about regulating gaming and gambling addiction, but at the same time, the games that should be allowed and banned seem like a state-to-state decision to take," Rohit Agarwal, founder and director, Alpha Zegus, a marketing agency specializing in the domains of gaming and lifestyle.

The recently concluded Union Budget announced the removal of the TDS threshold on online gaming. The Budget document suggested providing for TDS (tax deducted at source) and taxability on net winnings at the time of withdrawal or at the end of the financial year and would be without the threshold of Rs. 10,000.

Saptak Bardhan

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