Parliament of India talks about eSports and gaming policy

At the Lok Sabha on February 4th, Kiren Rijiju, Indian Minister of State for Youth 
Affairs and Sports, responded to questions on gaming and esports policy at the Question Session. He said that esports is an emerging youth platform, and India has a large number of esports enthusiasts. The Minister also acknowledged that the government is aware of the differences between gaming and gambling and that no officially recognized institutions/governing bodies, particularly for esports, have been established.

These questions were asked by Jagdambika Pal, Member of Lok Sabha, to the Minister of State of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Kiren Rijiju, on “Gaming and e-Sports Policy” in India.

Here are the question raised during the session at Lok Sabha:

If the government has some intentions to enforce the country’s Gaming and e-Sports Policies and, if so, the specifics of it.

If the government has some intentions to include sports and gaming in the Constitution’s Concurrent List and, if so, the specifics thereof.

Whether the government has any projections of the gaming industry’s size/value in India and, if so, the specifics thereof.

If the Government has any plans or any measures taken in India to regulate/restrain illegal gaming, betting, and gambling, if so, the specifics of it and, if not, the reasons for it.

Whether or not the government has taken any steps to implement educational gaming or has any proposals and, if so, the specifics thereof.

The key concerns have been resolved by the administration. They also confirmed that there is no government-recognized regulatory body and this is the first time the government has spoken about esports and our digital athletes could get more government funding in the future.

E-Sports is an emerging forum for the country’s young community. In our country, there are large numbers of e-Sports enthusiasts. It is included as a medal sports event in the 2022 Asian Games, but not yet included in the Olympics.

As the former is skill-based, while the latter are chance-based, e-Sports varies from gaming or igaming and gambling, etc. There are several federations in India, such as the India Electronic Sports Federation (ESFI).

The India E-Sports Development Association (EDAI) and E-Sports India (EI) have been formed to support e-Sports. Currently, the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has not approved any federations / organisations.

‘Sports’ being a subject of the State, the main responsibility for the creation and promotion of sports lies with the respective government of the State/UT. The Department of Sports complements the state/UT government’s initiatives through its numerous schemes. There is actually no plan under discussion to place sports and gaming on the list at the same time.

Betting and gambling is the concern of a State (Entry at serial number 34 in List II- State List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India) and is hence the responsibility of the State authorities of their respective States to regulate/curb illicit gaming, betting and gambling. In its Report No. 276 entitled ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India,’ submitted to the Government on 5 July 2018, the Law Commission stated that in the current scenario, legalizing betting and gambling is not desirable in India.

As far as the estimated value/size of the gaming industry in India is concerned, this is not the case. The research was carried out by the government.