winzo news: WinZo pings government against egaming self-police plan

E-gaming startup WinZo has opposed the idea of ​​joining a self-regulatory organization (SRO) for e-gaming companies, according to two informed sources.

This comes amid efforts by the government to establish guidelines for online gaming.

WinZo had written a letter to State Minister for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, in June expressing his views on the SRO structure, the sources said.

In addition to WinZo, other gaming companies also have internal disagreements on the matter, and there is a consensus that one SRO may not be enough for the industry, the sources added.

“WinZo formally sent its note to the government (in June). But companies believe that one SRO may not be enough,” said one of the sources. “There is also concern among companies like WinZo that an SRO structure could also lead to governance issues if powered by fantasy gaming platforms,” added another person.

WinZo identifies itself as a real money gaming platform based on skill and not chance.

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When contacted, WinZo founder Saumya Singh Rathore told ET that the company was against an SRO structure.

“As a stakeholder, we agree on the urgent need to renew the regulatory framework for the digital gaming industry,” Singh and co-founder Pavan Nanda wrote in the June 24 letter to the ministry.

The founders added that enforcing governance by SROs in the digital gaming industry has not been possible “due to a well-documented history of inability to achieve desired results in other sectors, such as financial securities…”.

However, the founders of WinZo also signed a follow-up note on June 27 to Chandrashekhar – which was co-signed by 79 other gambling companies – recommending how games of skill should be defined.

ET recently reviewed a copy of both letters, the contents of which have so far not been made public.

WinZo hosts about 100 skill-based third-party games, including fantasy cricket and soccer, chess, carrom, racing, and others. The platform’s main contention is the excessive influence of certain gaming companies in the industry on the SRO.

“It is noteworthy that emerging sectors are often prone to the growth of monopolies and the resulting intense competition. The fear is also that the process will require each game to be approved by an SRO before launch. Inherent in this process is the disclosure requirement of some of the IP – to industry peers – which is not an incentive for any industry to thrive or innovate,” the first letter reads.

Singh and Nanda said strategic advantage can be lost because of the inherent inefficiencies that creep into the certification process through an SRO.

WinZo’s stance on SROs comes at a time when it has sued Google for its recent policy of allowing daily fantasy sports and rummy games on the Google Play Store as part of a pilot project that would shut out a large segment of skill game platforms and independent developers. be considered.

ET reported on August 23 that gambling rules under the ICT Act would contain self-regulation clauses and that the gambling industry has already been instructed to come up with an SRO that can investigate and assess various aspects of online gambling.

“A self-regulatory framework with the controlling involvement of a monopolistic entity or entities can be counterproductive to the competitive spirit of the market, creating barriers to entry for new age players,” added the note from the WinZo founders.

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