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Prime Minister’s Office steps into the picture as real money gaming cos face uncertainty: Report

Even as real money gaming apps, which claim to be skill-driven as opposed to games of chance, grow in popularity, some states in India have banned them in the wake of players putting in lots of money and losing big. Now, the Prime Minister’s Office is stepping into the breach, Outlook magazine reported.

The PMO has reportedly reached out to NITI Aayog, the state-owned think tank, for files they have prepared on the subject. NITI Aayog had prepared a proposal on self-regulation of fantasy sports games last year. We have reached out to the NITI Aayog for comment, and will update this post if they respond.

The term ‘online gaming’ has been mandated by courts, which in its various judgements have agreed with the industry’s view that these apps don’t constitute gambling

Currently, litigation is ongoing in the Bombay High Court over a variant of the game Ludo. The court has reportedly sought an answer from the state of Maharashtra on whether Ludo is a game of skill or a game of chance.

Legal status of real money gaming

Some or all real money gaming has been banned in a handful of states like Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Gambling and gaming is largely a state subject, so online players face a very inconsistent legal environment from state to state. Some of these bans are facing litigation from private players; the Kerala High Court is hearing a challenge on a Rummy ban.

The RMG industry has, in kicks and starts, come up with norms to regulate itself; advertising regulator ASCI has also put out guidelines on how these apps can be advertised.

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