ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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​​​​​​​Online Gaming

A Data-driven Regulatory Framework

Online gaming and online fantasy sports platforms have experienced tremendous growth and popularity as a result of increasing internet penetration, affordable smartphones, and COVID-19-linked social isolation. They have been the subject of numerous legal disputes because of concerns over excessive participation of youngsters, leading to addiction, financial difficulties, and gambling. Many Indian states recently amended their online gaming laws to introduce a blanket ban on online gaming, which was met with intense pushback and criticism from both the judiciary and industry. The need for a data-driven regulatory framework that classifies online games based on their nature and statistically evaluates the dominance of skill and chance in a gaming set-up are highlighted in this paper. Taking OFS as a use case, these statistical tests are described and factors are identified that can help in designing skill-dominant platforms. Drawing on lessons from other countries, certain initiatives are suggested to address societal concerns such as addiction, protection of minors, and responsible advertising.

The online gaming industry is growing rapidly throughout the world as well as in India. Seclusion and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in people connecting online, which in turn led to a lot of businesses coming online to keep afloat, and one of those businesses that flourished is fantasy sports platforms. Online gaming platforms are now replacing traditional recreational games played among friends and families.

The rapid growth of smartphone penetration in India, which has over 600 million internet users, of whom 80% use smartphones, has contributed to an explosion in online gaming platforms (Khanna and Meka 2020). With the largest youth population (15–35 years old) globally, India is poised to become a leading market for online gaming (Rao 2022). Within online gaming, the online fantasy sports (OFS) sector has shown promising growth. With an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.92% over the forecast period of 2022–27, the OFS sector is expected to reach $44.07 billion globally (Mordor Intelligence 2020). According to NITI Aayog (2020), 90 million users played fantasy sports in 2019 compared to 2 million in 2016. A survey undertaken by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) in 12 Indian cities found that 67% of respondents were aware of OFS and that 89% of respondents played OFS games quite frequently (IFSG 2019). One of the reasons for the surge seen in recent years is the growing popularity of cricket and the Indian Premier League (IPL).

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Updated On : 29th May, 2023
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