Online gaming has come a long way in India, with the number of users projected to grow from 481 Mn in 2022 to 657 Mn in 2025
It is essential to understand the distinction between the game of skill and chance as they are making headlines for their legality and permits across the country
Considering the disruption that games of skill and games of chance are creating in the industry, the government must design a regulatory framework to encourage responsible gaming
Online gaming has come a long way in India. The sector recorded a spike in the number of users during the pandemic which is further projected to grow from 481 Mn users in 2022 to 657 Mn users in 2025, as per the State of Consumer Internet report by Inc42.
The spurt in newer formats of real money games involving games of skill further boosted the interest and engagement of users who utilise their gaming skills to make money. The enabling factors include increased smartphone penetration, accelerated internet adoption and affordable data availability.
Besides this, several other factors like innovative use of immersive technologies, opportunities expanding in the fantasy and real money gaming arena and a larger prize pool are shaping the future of the online gaming market which is expected to reach $5 Bn by 2025.
Understanding Game Of Skill
With the induction of skill-based gaming and play-to-earn formats, the aspect of online gaming has evolved dramatically from a passive source of entertainment to an active engagement activity.
In esports like Freefire, BGMI, Call of Duty, and others, the outcome is dependent on the player’s mental skills and agility. The introduction of esports as a competitive sport in the Asian Games 2022 to be held in China in Sept 2023 establishes these games as genuine sporting games.
Players continuously evaluate their capabilities and practice to improve as in any other sport. Giving the players an opportunity to earn money by staking on their skills gives them an additional incentive for improving their performance.
Even in games like chess and puzzles, the win depends on the player’s ability to perceive a pattern, strategic thinking and implementation of an approach to win against the opponent. The game of skill requires the expertise of the player.
How Is It Different From A Game Of Chance?
While the game of skill is poised for explosive growth, it is often misinterpreted as a game of chance. Though these games entail a component of skill, the success of the outcome is predominantly determined by a higher level of chance. From rolling dice to laying down chips on the betting mat, the probability of a win in such games depends on luck with an element of randomisation attached to it.
Many new-age gaming startups have explored avenues to improve the probability of a win in chance-based games. For instance, gambling requires the amount of money bet and the chance to win. To make it more interesting and a win-win for players, platforms include rewards or prizes, yet still lack control over the final outcome.
It is essential to understand the distinction between the game of skill and chance as they are making headlines for their legality and permits across the country. Many state governments have tried to impose a ban on real money games but such actions do not bode well for an upcoming industry with huge potential and are more of a knee-jerk reaction to certain abnormal behaviour by the users.
The courts, however, have been surgical in their treatment of the subject matter and have relied upon the fine distinction that exists between Games of Skill and Games of Chance. It is imperative for the industry to urge the authority to clearly articulate its position in line with the judgements and orders of various courts of India including the Supreme Court and put regulations in place.
This will remove all administrative ambiguity and also safeguard the interest of users as well as the industry operators.
Considering the disruption that games of skill and games of chance are creating in the industry, the government must design a regulatory framework to encourage responsible gaming.
It will not only weed out illegal gambling or betting operators but also help legitimate gaming operators to grow responsible gaming. The online gaming industry has grown at an unprecedented pace and the gaming unicorns promoting responsible gaming indicate massive potential in the industry.