[win rummy cash game]Mobile gaming needs skill, it’s not gambling
2021-09-17 18:53:36

  Mobile gaming has been gaining in popularity with the increasing penetration of smartphones and 4G in Karnataka. The sheer convenience, and with no need for elaborate infrastructure or space, games on the phone are a much-needed break for many. As more mobile game developers move in to cash in on this growing market, some perceptions are getting in the way. A prominent one is that gaming is a form of gambling. Such perceptions are leading to uncertainty over this emerging segment and hindering the development of a whole new space – both for industry and users.

  Any game can be skill-based or in the realm of gambling. The difference is in what it takes to win. Simply put, in skill-based games, a person needs talent, agility, strength, training and experience, among other traits, to excel and win. On the other hand, in case of a game of chance, a person wins only ‘by chance’. Most attribute it to luck. These are games where one wins or loses at the draw of a card or roll of a dice. There is no involvement of talent or any other attribute needed as in the case of skill-based games.?

  One of the reasons behind the misconception that mobile gaming is gambling is the structure of prize money it offers. The prize money comes from a pool of funds raised as an entry fee from gamers. The money so raised is distributed as prizes to those who win. While this is similar, in a way, to pooling of cash in games of chance, the winning pattern and skill involved to win differentiates the two. The law is clear on what is allowed and what is not. It expressly prohibits games of chance. Gambling – games of chance – is not allowed across the country. Skill-based games, however, are legal. These games are allowed across all platforms including digital and online. Many of these games are popular on smartphones as they lend themselves well to the small screens and mobility.

  A central regulatory framework that clearly defines the scope and legality of mobile gaming is a need of the hour. This is a sunrise sector that holds potential in Karnataka. A regional tech hub, this sector will find a base in the IT belts here, fuelling opportunities in development for both domestic and offshore organisations in the gaming business.

  India is a large market for this industry. Gaming is emerging as a major business opportunity. The growth of Internet penetration, favourable macroeconomic conditions, cheap telephony and huge consumer base are set to fuel the growth of the gaming industry here. A natural start-up incubator, Karnataka can play a lead role in offering a conducive environment to developers engaged in both software and hardware. A progressive State government policy regulating and offering incentives for growth will bring about a new dimension to the IT scape of Karnataka.

  The policy is in the making here and it is imperative to get it right. Competition is global now and without a favourable policy, the domestic gaming industry will find it a challenge to grow alongside overseas players.

  However, the first step to building this industry is getting the perception right. That gaming is distinct from gambling, and is legal, has to be clearly delineated.?

  There have been judgements on this. As far back as in 1968, in the case of K Satyanarayana and others versus the State of Andhra Pradesh, the Supreme Court had held that rummy wasn’t a game of chance. Rummy involved considerable skill and couldn’t be considered a game of chance. As recently as in 2019, in the Ravindra Singh Chaudhary versus Union of India, the High Court of Rajasthan ruled that fantasy sports did not constitute gambling as the players needed skills similar to that of a real life team manager. It takes knowledge and strategy to put together a winning team. Such games are skill-based and not games of chance.

  In Karnataka, in the case of Indian Poker Association versus the State, in 2013, the High Court ruled that poker is a game of skill.

  What comes out is the fact that any skill needed to win turns the game into a skill-based one and distinct from gambling. There is a need for clear regulation and policy framework that puts things in perspective with no scope for different interpretations.?

  There are emerging segments such as e-sports within online gaming that too need policy governance. E-sports are conducted online. Players compete with each other on the Internet or smartphone. This format has been recognised as a sport in many countries abroad. There are global e-sport tournaments. The number of players and followers in this space is growing steadily. Discussions have been held to include this format in the Olympics too.

  Given the challenges of conventional sports in terms of infrastructure and logistics, e-sports and mobile gaming open doors to a great many who are left out. Here is another field where champions can emerge. Given the strength of Karnataka as a tech hub and the immense talent here, the chances of winning gold in the Olympics are higher should e-sports make it to this prized arena.

  While the picture of a mobile game on a phone or computer screen may look like that of a slot machine in a casino, there is a lot more to mobile gaming than pulling a lever and hoping for jackpot. Some thought and alignment with change and technology is called for to give this emerging format a chance to build more homegrown champions in sports.