The Indian gaming sector stakeholders on Tuesday termed the decision of the Tamil Nadu cabinet to ban online gaming as “unfortunate and unconstitutional,” which will eventually only benefit gambling operators and badly affect the fast-growing sector.
Nazara Technologies, a diversified gaming and sports media company, saw its stock under selling pressure after the state government passed an ordinance banning online gaming. The Shares of the company were down over 2 per cent to Rs 665.
Roland Landers, CEO of The All India Gaming Federation said that this decision is disappointing because “it disregards the six decades of established legal jurisprudence and also the recent judgment of the Madras HC which struck down a similar law”.
“What is also surprising is that the state government has already appealed against the judgment of Madras High Court and the Supreme Court had recently issued notices on the same. Instead of waiting for the SC judgment and, in the meantime, respecting the categorical decision by their own HC, they seem to have taken another unconstitutional decision which will eventually only benefit online gambling operators,” Landers said in a statement.
The Madras High Court had struck down the state’s ban on online games like rummy and poker with stakes, and the Tamil Nadu government had then appealed to the Supreme Court.
The state government had told the apex court that teenagers and youths were losing their entire earnings and savings by indulging in online games.
In its petition, it also said that while rummy could be considered a game with skills, by placing stakes, it had turned into gambling.
The gaming industry is now being seen as an important pillar of the economy. This upcoming sector could create lakhs of jobs in the country. Several gaming startup firms are expected to firm up hiring plans to support growth in the next few years.
At present, there are more than 400 gaming companies in India that include Infosys Limited, Hyperlink InfoSystem, Fgfactory and Zensar Technologies, among others.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) has said that mobile is the primary vehicle for the gaming market in India, thanks to access to affordable smartphones growing at 15 per cent year-on-year for the past five years.
Besides, high-speed 4G internet penetration, supported by the world’s lowest data tariffs, have contributed handsomely and the upcoming 5G will only support this growth.