TheNFAPost Podcast

Chennai, NFAPost: While welcoming the progressive initiative by the government, The Online Rummy Federation (TORF) has made it clear that they want to ensure that any new regulation is not prohibitive and builds in protection for consumers and operations of legitimate operators.

The statement from The Online Rummy Federation (TORF) comes in the context of a recent statement made by the Additional Advocate General (AAG) M Sricharan Rangarajan informing the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that the State Government was actively considering regulating the online skill gaming sector.

The government is worried about the recent suicide reports related to online gaming. These recent events are of grave concern to TORF and its members. Over the last two years, TORF members have taken extraordinary and voluntary steps to self-regulate and give players the tools to play responsibly.

Key areas of regulation

  • KYC verification
  • Minimum Age
  • Player Protection requirements,
  • Mandatory Responsible Playing features like setting daily monthly limits, self-exclusion etc.
  • Advertising guidelines,
  • No BOTS on sites
  • SSL level encryption

The above measures are requirements are likely to ensure player experience is safe, fair and enables responsible gaming.

TORF strongly feel that the government should regulate this sector to ensure only legitimate, legal operators who follow strict protocols are allowed to operate and a clear distinction drawn from those who try and operate above the law.

Tens of thousands of players from Tamil Nadu enjoy playing online rummy safely and responsibly. Effective regulation will let the vast majority of the players who play responsibly continue to enjoy the game, protect the players that are vulnerable, and lead to substantial additional revenues for the government.

Underground economy

Jurisdictions around the world that have chosen prohibitive measures over-regulation have had to deal with a large underground economy. A case in point is the recent Rs 1,000 crore gambling scam in Telangana which surfaced after it chose to ban skill gaming in 2017.

In the absence of regulation, and in case of any prohibitive action that doesn’t draw a clear line between legitimate skill gaming and illegitimate operators, the government would unintentionally exacerbate the problem it is trying to solve by encouraging uncontrolled illegal online gaming.

The Government of Tamil Nadu should set up a committee to review, discuss and propose a regulatory framework for games of skill similar to Nagaland and Sikkim. A discussion for a proposal to regulate this industry can address many concerns including following key points:

  1. Setting time and monetary limits for players on a daily/weekly/monthly basis;
  2. Stronger KYC checks & social profiling of users to ensure that players are financially stable adults
  3. Strict advertising standards to promote gaming as entertainment and not a way to earn money
  4. An annual license fee and a player support contribution to help vulnerable players

TORF is committed to provide its full support to the government in creating a safe and responsible gaming industry. They have already made an official representation to the Honourable Chief Minister to kindly consider regulating the sector as a win -win solution.

TORF is the first voluntarily incorporated self-regulatory body in the Indian online gaming sector with the sole objective to ensure that rummy players across India enjoy online rummy in a safe and responsible manner. No other gaming companies across the world, in regulated or semi-regulated markets, have undertaken such a voluntary initiative for user protection and safety.

TORF Initiatives

  • As a part of its self-regulatory initiatives, which started in year 2018, TORF has ensured that rummy operators adhere to rigorous operating standards which have been prepared by internal gaming experts in line with various existing global (EU and UK) regulatory frameworks and is called TORF Code of Conduct “the Code”.
  • TORF ensures that regular audit and compliance are done so as to certify and grant TORF Seal to qualifying member rummy operators against the Code. TORF ensures that rigorous audit measures and processes are followed which are performed by an independent third-party auditor (one of the big4 audit firms).
  • TORF Code covers many important aspects for ensuring player protection and encouraging responsible playing practices. Key areas include
    • Guidelines on KYC verification
    • Minimum Age
    • Prevention of Money Laundry,
    • Player Protection and Accountability,
    • Responsible Playing,
    • Setting Gameplay limits,
    • Self-exclusion,
    • Assisting Vulnerable Players,
    • Advertising guidelines,
    • Dispute resolution etc.
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