General ban on online gaming is no solution: Telangana IT Official

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Skills development has taken a back seat in the past 18 months, an official said. (Representative)

New Delhi:

A blanket ban on online gambling is not a solution and the sector can offer many opportunities to stimulate the economy, create jobs and improve productivity, a senior Telangana government official said on Wednesday.

Telangana was among the states that have banned online gaming, but is currently working on a policy allowing players to operate in the state with guarantees.

Telangana’s chief secretary for IT, electronics and communications Jayesh Ranjan speaking at a games seminar hosted by IAMAI said the ban was motivated by a game by chance which led to the addiction of some people and ruined their families.

“We have always had this clarity that a blanket ban is not the solution. You have to distinguish between game of skill and game of chance.

“Some of these reasons, especially from law enforcement, have been a refusal to ban or prevent people from playing these games, and are largely driven by gambling,” said Ranjan.

He said skills development has lagged behind in the past 18 months as skills cannot be learned just by listening to lectures and hands-on training is needed.

“I see a lot of virtue in using games for this kind of purpose. There are a lot of companies working on these things.

“How to acquire skills by gamifying the whole context and helping candidates navigate these sessions in a user-friendly way? This is a major step forward in the way vocational training will be delivered in the future”, Ranjan said.

According to Indiatech CEO Rameesh Kailasam, several court rulings have granted legitimacy to online gaming formats, including fantasy sports.

However, in some states like Telangana, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, and Nagaland, these online formats are not allowed if they involve cash.

Ranjan said the state government is coming up with an online gaming policy that will be a model for others.

“We need to dig deeper to understand what the impulses are for regulatory roadblocks… We have been there for almost 7 to 8 months. We are following this path very cautiously.

“We don’t want to rush something that can potentially be challenged in court or that can lead to some public misunderstanding and outcry,” Ranjan said.

He also said Telangana is building one of the best infrastructure for games, animation, special effects and other technology companies called Image Tower, which is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2023.

“It will be a matter of pride not only for Hyderabad and Telangana, but also for the country,” said Ranjan.

Games 24X7 co-founder and CEO Bhavin Pandya said it would be helpful for the central government to recognize certain games of skill and legislate on them.

“We can also replicate some global models where you need to get a license to operate the games under specific conditions,” Pandya said.


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