Clarity in online gaming laws will facilitate growth: MPL co-founder

Legal clarity in the field of online gaming and fantasy sports will boost the fast-growing digital sports industry, according to Sai Srinivas, the co-founder of Indian gaming giant Mobile Premier League (MPL). 

Fantasy gaming platforms continue to face legal hurdles owing to a vague distinction between skill-based and luck-based games making operations difficult and even risky.

"We need to have clarity in terms of regulations, in terms of defining what eSports is, defining what competitive skill gaming is, and very clearly drawing a line between that and other games that might be games of chance, casino-led games, etc," Srinivas told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

In December, NITI Aayog, the policy think tank of the Government of India, had recommended setting up a self-regulatory body for the regulation and development of online fantasy sports platforms (OFSPs) in India.

It also suggested restricting online fantasy games to users of 18 years and above and ordered advertisements to carry disclaimers of the financial risks involved.

Srinivas thinks proper regulations like these will not only save the firms from legal hassles but also support Indian companies in building massive enterprises in the gaming sector, and become exporters of the technology as well.

"I believe that India is at a point where the future of gaming and eSports (including fantasy sports) in the next five years will be significantly driven by this market.

“It is India's chance to actually build its own digital infrastructure and build really scalable platforms and not only serve India but also export a lot of these platforms to other countries like the US,” he reckoned.

MPL, with a claimed user base of over 60 million in India, is one of the leaders in the country’s online gaming market and has already ventured beyond the Indian borders.

It has around 3.5 million users in Indonesia and offices in Jakarta and Singapore.

Founded in 2018 by Sai Srinivas and Shubh Malhotra, MPL currently offers fantasy cricket, fantasy football and fantasy basketball, along with casual games like pool, chess, ludo, carrom, rummy, and quiz in its roster.

The Bangalore-based firm has over 500 employees and recently raised USD 95 million in funding from investors including Composite Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, Base Partners, and others.