Blanket ban on online games is not a solution and the sector can bring a lot of opportunities to drive the economy, create jobs and enhance productivity, a senior Telangana government official said on Wednesday.
Telangana was among the states that banned online gaming but it is now working on a policy to allow players to operate in the state with safeguards.
Telangana Principal Secretary for IT, electronics and communications Jayesh Ranjan, while speaking at a gaming seminar organised by IAMAI, said the ban was driven by a game of chance that led to addiction of some people and ruined their families.
"We always had that clarity that blanket banning is not the solution. One needs to make a distinction between game of skill and game of chance.
"Some of these reasons, particularly from law enforcement agencies, have been a push back about banning or stopping people from playing these games, is largely driven by game of chance," Ranjan said.
He said that skill development has taken a back seat in the last 18 months as skills cannot be acquire just by listening to lectures and hands-on training is required.
"I see a lot of virtue in utilising games for that kind of purpose. There are many companies that are working on those things.
"How do you pick up skills by gamifying the entire context and helping candidates navigate through those sessions in an user-friendly way? This is one major advancement in the way skills training will be delivered in future," Ranjan said.
According to Indiatech CEO Rameesh Kailasam, multiple court rulings have accorded legitimacy to online gaming formats, including fantasy sports.
However, in some states like Telangana, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland, such online formats are not allowed if they involve any money.
Ranjan said the state government is coming up with a policy for online gaming which will be a role model for others.
"We need to dive deeper to understand what are impulses for regulatory roadblocks.... We have been on it for almost 7-8 months. We are treading this path very cautiously.
"We don''t want to rush something which can be potentially challenged in a court or which may lead to some amount of public misunderstanding and an outcry," Ranjan said.
He also said Telangana is building one of the best infrastructures for gaming, animation, special effects and other technology companies, called Image Tower, which is expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2023.
"This will be a matter of pride not just for Hyderabad and Telangana but for the country as well," Ranjan said.
Games 24X7 co-founder and CEO Bhavin Pandya said it would help if the central government recognises certain games of skill and legislates over them.
"We can replicate some global models too where one needs to obtain a licence to operate the games under specific conditions," Pandya said.