India’s Parliament Esports and Gaming Policy Discussions
Kiren Rijiju, Indian Minster of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, answered questions about esports and gaming policy in a Q&A session last week. There were also questions asked about India betting and gambling topics. The session was held in Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament on February 4.
During the session Mr. Rijiju said that esports is an emerging platform for youth, which attracts a large number of esports enthusiasts in India. In 2022, it will be included in the Asian Games as a medal sports discipline.
The minister reiterated the government’s stance on the differences between gaming and India’s gambling in its traditional form. Currently there is no proposal or consideration to add esports and gaming to the constitution’s concurrent list of approved betting.
When asked about responsibilities, Mr. Rijiju said that sports are considered state subjects, and the primary responsibilities for development of sports rests with the State/UT Government. He added that the Department of Sports supplements state efforts.
Mr. Rijiju acknowledged different associations that were established to promote esports such as the Electronic Sports Federation of India (ESFI), E-sports Development Association of India (EDAI) and E-sports India (EI). But said that the government is yet to establish or officially recognize any governing bodies for esports.
During the session, questions were raised about plans to regulate India’s online gambling and betting. The Minister replied that India betting and gambling are considered state matters, so state authorities should be responsible for regulating land-based and online gambling in their territories.
He also made reference to Law Commission Report No. 276 titled “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India” that was submitted to the Government on July 5, 2018. At the time it was published, the report did not conclude that legalizing betting and gambling in India is desirable.
Mr. Rijiju seemed to have made it clear that enforcing and regulating esports, gaming and other forms of Indian gambling are within individual State/UT responsibilities.
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