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Gambler Protection or Blanket Bans on Gaming?

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Global Knowledge on How to Curb Problem Gambling Grows

As the number of countries around the world that have regulated their online gambling space grows, so does the global knowledge on how to curb problem gambling, addictions and other gaming-related issues.

Some countries are even learning how to employ Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based tools in their Responsible Gaming machinery along with already established “safety nets”, as the researchers at SevenJackpots point out in their recent report on “The Benefits and Prospects of Regulated Online Gambling in India”.

“Problem gaming is possibly the most sensitive issue in gambling. “Responsible gaming” has been established as the industry flagship to gain player trust and society’s approval. RG requires both mandatory player protection and self-control tools,” the authors write.

Responsible Gaming policies have been evolving towards elevating gambler safety, and the established RG standard includes efficient self-exclusion tools, a system of operator responsibilities towards problem gamblers, and blacklists for both operator and customers.

Digital tools are widely used in RG practice for monitoring purposes, age verification, implementing limitations on spending or login time, speed of play, etc.

Hand in Hand with Science

The continuous development of Responsible Gaming knowledge and practice has been going hand in hand with science. A good example is the recently announced data-driven responsible gaming research project based on partnership between Swedish gambling operator LeoVegas and Stockholm medical university Karolinska Institutet.

“Problem gambling is a public health issue, and joining forces with an esteemed academic establishment like Karolinska Institutet will enable us to further understand the underlying issues that lead to problem gambling, thereby giving us the best chance at intervening and preventing it in an effective way,” a LeoVegas release said.

“This is a long-term project with long-term goals! High quality research takes time to come to fruition, and it is important to understand just how much public health benefit can be derived from data-driven research into problem gambling.”

Tamil Nadu Sends Reinforcements to the Gaming Ban Court Battle

Tamil Nadu is one of the states in India, along with Kerala, Karnataka and others, that has engaged in a lengthy judicial battle over banning online gaming in their territory. Now, Tamil Nadu has reinforced its positions by enacting a new bill to ban and regulate online gaming.

While Tamil Nadu’s appeal against Madras High Court striking down TN’s previous gaming ban was being heard by the Supreme Court, the southern state enacted an ordinance in early October and within the same month replaced it with a bill to prohibit online gambling and regulate online gaming.

The bill’s definitions, however, limit ‘online gaming’ to certain word or board games, and place all games that involve ‘cards’, ‘dice’, ‘wheel’ or any other digital random event generators in the same category as Indian casino online games as ‘online games of chance’.

The Indian online gaming industry is already preparing to fight the new challenge by Tamil Nadu in court. “After examining the Ordinance, we have decided to file a lawsuit as it categorises Rummy and Poker as games of chance,” Sameer Barde, CEO of the E-gaming Federation (EGF), stated.

“The Supreme Court and several High Courts have reaffirmed the status of skill-based games as legitimate business activity and Tamil Nadu must take cognizance of these judgments in developing an enabling gaming policy that safeguards players than resorting to a ban,” Mr. Barde said.

Blanket Ban Science is Fast

Answering the Madras HC instructions, the Tamil Nadu government has backed up its new gaming ban bill with science. It turns out, however, that this ‘blanket ban science’ is quite fast.

The High Court’s call for empirical evidence to justify the need of a harsh restriction such as a blanket ban was answered with a report delivered after two weeks of research by a four-member committee led by former Justice K. Chandru.

The report recommended banning online games with stakes as regulation was not possible due to the very character of the online gaming business.

The empirical evidence provided by the TN government in the Ordinance’s preamble includes a survey conducted among 2 lakh of school teachers, the majority of whom reported observing negative effects from online gaming in students.

It remains to be seen how the court system will evaluate the scientific merit of blanket ban empirical studies and how the whole situation will develop. It seems, however, that players in India will not soon benefit from global gambler protection knowledge and lengthy science research like the one being done in Sweden.

SMEStreet Edit Desk

SMEStreet Edit Desk is a small group of excited and motivated journalists and editors who are committed to building MSME ecosystem through valuable information and knowledge spread.

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