The COVID-19 outbreak and the nationwide lockdown have had a pronounced impact across industries. Besides stalling economic activity and lowering consumption, the pandemic has also led to behavioral and lifestyle changes in people.
The time, as well as the average, spends per user (ARPUs) for online gaming is rising significantly making gaming the biggest past-time globally as quoted by Morgan Stanley top economist Ruchir Sharma from, in January this year. The online transaction-based skill gaming industry in India grew at a robust rate of 30 per cent while the ARPUs went up by a whopping 41 per cent in 2019, as per the FICCI Frames 2020 report compiled by Ernst & Young. In view of these trends, the importance of self-regulation for this Industry cannot be emphasised enough.
All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers states, “Since its inception over four years ago, the objective of AIGF was centered around bringing recognition to the sunrise sector of transaction-based online skill gaming. One of the key deliverables for us was to set up a robust self-regulation mechanism that would serve the needs of the Industry by means of good governance”.
Speaking on the initiative, Landers mentions, “AIGF skill games charter was released in 2018 and was based on the four foundations of integrity, legality, global best practices, and good governance. The charter focusses entirely on player protection, responsible gaming including guidelines for advertising.”
Through the adoption of principles and the disciplinary process, the AIGF seeks to build a self-regulatory community and facilitative ecosystem for the offer of online transactional games of skill in a transparent and fair manner, with due regard for consumer and stakeholder interests.
With the surge in the transactional-based online skill ecosystem and the addition of newer business verticals like digital esports, the AIGF felt the need to strengthen its Advisory Board and has onboarded eminent experts from diverse backgrounds of the judiciary, education, and sports.
On welcoming the new advisory board members, Landers professes, “We are privileged to have strengthened our advisory panel at AIGF and are very honored to have former judge of the Supreme Court and ex – chief justice of the Karnataka High Court Justice Vikramajit Sen, Agarkar Centre of Excellence (ACE) combing sports founder and leading educationist Fatema Agarkar, and Indian International Cricketer and the Indian National women’s cricket team former captain Jhulan Goswami, join us and offer their expert guidance to us and the industry.”
Sen states, “As online transaction based gaming has grown by 30per cent over last year, self-regulation for this ever-expanding Industry is extremely important. To overcome the blurred lines, the AIGF Skill Games Charter provides the very foundation for responsible gaming, user integrity, player protection, and best practices for member operators to ensure ethical practices to safeguard the consumer interest.
To further contribute to the process, I am excited to be on the advisory panel of the AIGF, which has vetted the charter and play a role in guiding the Industry body and its stakeholders forward as the sector grows.”
Elaborating on the importance of digital sports gaming, Agarkar states “I am glad to be a part of AIGF’s advisory panel and for me, the sheer potential that e-sports enjoys lies in its reach, bringing communities together, enabling an alternative to physical sports, working with key life skills such as decision making, critical thinking and logic not to mention attitudes of discipline, responsible digital citizenship! There’s cognitive development and participation avenues that open up given its tech base and therefore obvious reach beyond the four walls, and when structured with science and responsible protocols, the sheer scale of possibilities it opens up cannot be emphasized enough. With AIGF’s well-structured Responsible Gaming Charter, we will put the right checks in place and treat it with the respect it deserves!”
Elated to be part of AIGF’s advisory board, Goswami said, “It is heartening to see that millions of gamers are participating in online formats including cricket and that this ecosystem is growing rapidly. It is an honor to be on the board alongside such eminent people and makes me extremely happy to see the industry come together to adopt the guidelines of the AIGF charter to ensure best practices and player protection for the online Skill Gaming Industry.”