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The Tamil Nadu government played to the gallery, when in November 2020, in the backdrop of the Assembly elections, it decided to pass an ordinance banning online games.
In a single stroke of the pen, the ordinance banned all online games, even saying that "games of mere skill, if played for wager, bet, money or other stake" cannot be allowed in the state. Three billion people play online games across the world -- this is about 40 per cent of the world population. They play all types of games -- racing, sports, action, puzzle, quiz, chess to card games. It is not possible to club lakhs of games that exist in the world under one category.
Of the three billion people who play online games, there is a good percentage of people who pay entry fees to participate in online skill tournaments or enter tournaments to earn prizes, and these were the people being deprived by the Tamil Nadu law.
Tamil Nadu ordinance was excessive and disproportionate to the object sought to be achieved. It also held the law as violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. unsplashunsplash
The Madras High Court in its recent judgement rightfully held that the Tamil Nadu ordinance was excessive and disproportionate to the object sought to be achieved. It also held the law as violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, which guarantees all citizens the right to practice any profession or carry on any occupation, trade or business.
The Madras High Court thus upheld what the Supreme Court and several high courts have affirmed in numerous judgments that games of skill, whether online or offline, is a perfectly legitimate activity.
Let's examine the rationale put behind by the Tamil Nadu government and also by the critics of online gaming. Some say in online games, players end up spending a lot of money for buy-in and add-ons. Sure, compulsive shoppers end up overspending on Amazon and Flipkart, but that should not be a reason for banning
Many responsible gaming apps have best practices that limit the amount of money one can use to play these games. Also, there are regular notifications to warn players if they are spending too much money. Regulation can be introduced to ensure all gaming apps follow this rule. The second argument that is put forth is that gamers spend too much time on the gaming platform. This could be true not just for skill gaming apps, but for any online game like Free Fire or Battlegrounds Mobile India, or streaming platforms like YouTube or Netflix.
However, this is an issue that needs to be addressed and legitimate gaming apps have warning notifications if a person is spending too much time playing games and this should be a standard feature across all gaming platforms.
The third argument is that innocent people are being cheated. While this looks like a general statement, the issue really is of fair play. All reputed platforms usually obtain random number generators, and no-bots certificates from global firms, to ensure that a user is not playing against a computer and maintain fairness and transparency. The specifics for each operator may vary, but all Indian operators should ensure that the platforms are safe, secure, and fair and they are constantly innovating on this end.
Some critics say that these games are played by kids of all ages. This is a malicious and misleading argument as far as skill gaming platforms are concerned. There are several games that are meant for kids - games that are meant to aid their language, comprehension, maths etc.
These are different from skill gaming apps. All legitimate gaming apps in India compulsorily mandate that only adults can play the games, and this is being done through KYC checks.
It is important to distinguish between games of chance and games of skill. What are games of chance? These are games where luck is the most important factor for winning. These are pure luck games like instant win scratch cards, online bingo, online lottery, casino gaming, teen patti etc. Games of skill on the other hand involve significant playing skill like strategy, mental or physical skill.
Madras High Court judgement makes it abundantly clear about the validity of online games of skill, it is an opportunity for various state governments to make progressive laws relating to online gaming.: UnsplashUnsplash
While the Madras High Court judgement makes it abundantly clear about the validity of online games of skill, it is an opportunity for various state governments to make progressive laws relating to online gaming. Not just the Tamil Nadu government, but Andhra and Telangana governments that have adopted blanket ban ordinances, must examine all aspects before framing a new law that considers the interest of all stakeholders -- gamers, industry, gaming tech sector and esports sector.
More importantly, the law makers should not be misled by ill-informed activists and have detailed discussions with experts and industry bodies. What is important is that the law should weed out all unscrupulous players and only promote and encourage skill gaming platforms that adhere to the highest standards of ethics and fair play.
Countries like France and the United States are inviting game developers from across the world to set up operations in their countries. They want to develop their countries as the gaming hub of the world. India and states like Tamil Nadu can take a clue and work towards recognising gaming which is now the biggest social platform, the biggest pastime and one of the biggest sports disciplines in the world.
(The writer is the Founder of Policy Matrix, a public policy think-tank based in New Delhi. The views expressed are personal) (IANS/RN)
Keywords: Gaming, Laws, Tamil Nadu, Opinion
The Indian media and entertainment (M&E) sector is expected to grow by 25 percent in 2021 and is expected to reach Rs 1.73 lakh crore ($23.7 billion), according to a FICCI-EY report. Titled ‘Playing by new rules, the report said that with its current trajectory, the M&E sector in India is expected to reach Rs 2.23 lakh crore ($30.6 billion) by 2023 at a CAGR of 17 percent.
In 2020 while television continued to remain the largest segment, digital media has overtaken print, and online gaming has overtaken a disrupted filmed entertainment segment.
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The Indian media and entertainment sector has de-grown by 24 percent to Rs 1.38 trillion ($19 billion) in 2020. Digital media and online gaming were the only segments that grew in 2020 adding an aggregate of Rs 2,600 crore. Other segments have de-grown by an aggregate of Rs 46,700 billion.
Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General FICCI, said that though the media and entertainment sector has been largely impacted by the pandemic, the positive news is that the digital subscription has grown by 49 percent and the online gaming industry has grown by 18 percent. He further mentioned that different sectors of the media and entertainment industry will take different times to recover and this makes the report more crucial.
Ashish Pherwani, Partner and Media & Entertainment Leader, EY India, said the M&E sector witnessed a shift in demand patterns as consumers actively sought alternatives and had the time to try new things. (IANS/SP)
Holistic well-being focused on nutrition and rejuvenation is being talked about more than ever. The global hospitality industry has seen a renewed interest in wellness tourism. Travelers are seeking out health and wellness retreats to build their immunity. According to a report by the Global Wellness Institute, wellness tourism is slated to grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 percent by 2022.
This is higher than the projected 6.4 percent rate for the annual growth of overall global tourism. As things gradually get back to normalcy, it is predicted that wellness is going to be a priority for everyone and people will plan their vacations around it. In the months to come, we may well see wellness tourism taking center-stage.
People will travel to places that offer health and wellness enhancing opportunities and tourism will shift from simple spa and leisure travel to health and wellness-focused travel. The anxiety and stress due to COVID-19 can be resolved with holidays in wellness-focused places that offer the essence of these holistic therapies and spirituality and well-being. Preventive healthcare is a good way to combat diseases.
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More people are favoring a wellness staycation, there are new demands for immunity boosting retreats, socially distanced wellness trips, private jet wellness journeys, and working remotely on holiday; personal health and fitness are now a top priority for travel.
As a major hospitality group in the region, CG Hospitality is expected to strengthen the positioning and business of The Farm, both in the Philippines as well as in markets such as Europe, USA, India, Nepal, and the Middle East, by bringing a range of talents and industry experts.
Rahul Chaudhary, MD & CEO, CG Corp Global & CG Hospitality Global, told IANSlife: “The Farm at San Benito in its stride, is evolving to take over the world through its intrinsic philosophy promoting overall health and holistic well-being. It is the perfect confluence of healing ambiance and atmosphere that instantly reinvigorates the senses.
The constant urge to offer enhanced services and wholesome healing experience to its customers, imprints their hearts thus, leaving an urge to return. The Farm needs to be replicated across key global destinations to deliver on the ever-increasing predictions and trends around wellness. Making time to unplug is a higher priority than ever before and destinations that help achieve this balance like The Farm will be highly sought after.”
He further added, “Despite the pandemic borne obstacles, The Farm at San Benito was the first medical wellness resort in the country, if not in the world, to reopen last May 16, 2020, with necessary permits and continue its operations as a medical wellness facility. In spite of many challenges such as Taal Volcano Eruption, Covid-19 pandemic, and major typhoons, The Farm recover business through positive flow through – by reducing cost; increasing revenue for healthy profit margins.”
According to The Farm’s medical director, Dr. Homer Lim, a certain population of people who developed Covid-19 infections will eventually have what’s now called the “Post-Covid Syndrome” or long haulers. They usually will have persistent symptoms even at 2 months from recovery. The most common symptoms are loss of taste and smell, fatigue, difficulty breathing, muscle, and joint pains as well as digestive issues.
With The Farm’s Covid-free healing environment, medically-supervised and science-based treatments, healthy vegan and nutritious meals, and mindful movement activities — The Farm provides a holistic approach to help Covid-19 survivors fully recover and achieve their optimum health.
The expert lists some wellness trends that are sure to shape the industry in this new year.
Staycation Wellness Boom
2021 is going to see an unprecedented rise in the number of travelers looking for domestic wellness breaks. People are searching for holidays to improve their health and fitness without always having to go overseas. Whether it’s a healthy break to de-stress or an active holiday to boost physical well-being; wellness staycations are proving to be the perfect opportunity to kick start, or maintain a healthy lifestyle and boost our immunity, all from the comfort of our own country.
Immunity Booster Retreats
Covid-19 will make immunity building and enhancement a major wellness trend in 2021. There’s going to be an increased focus on strengthening and supporting immunity. This will lead to an increased focus on gut health and the microbiome because of its relation to our immunity and brain function.
Working Remotely on Holiday to Stay Healthy
With the rise of remote work and the ongoing restrictions of Covid-19, many are leaving their home offices for the chance of working from a picturesque wellness holiday destination. Technology has facilitated many workers to perform their job effectively from anywhere there is a phone signal and a strong Wi-Fi connection. Instead of working remotely from home, we are starting to discover that working from holiday has remarkable benefits.
Self-Care Now an Essential Part of Travel
Healthy holidays with the purpose of fostering personal betterment are going to grow in relevancy through 2021, and long into the next decade. After all, it is unlikely that being unhealthy is going to become popular any time soon.
Social Distance Wellness Trips to Far-Flung Destinations
A greater number of holidaymakers are choosing socially distance wellness trips to destinations further afield than in previous years. The greater the health risk of travel and the greater the effort, means people are more inclined to book one big holiday. Holiday goers are favoring longer healthy getaways that are further away but less risky and more secluded.
Social distance holidays are popular with families, couples, and solo travelers, as they provide quiet time away to strengthen relationships and focus on personal well-being. Social distance is well accommodated by many luxury hotels, providing they are in low-risk Covid-19 spots. Private villa resorts at these locations provide healthy retreats that are ideal for two weeks or more of self-isolating in a beautiful, remote location.
Mindful and Sustainable Travel
2021 will see a huge rise in the relevance that sustainability takes in the travel plans of consumers as they become more mindful than ever. Consumers saw the dramatic effect emissions were having on the planet and resolved to be more mindful about the environmental impact of their actions. Staycations or holidays at resorts with a greater commitment to eco-friendly practices are going to be more popular. Wellness resorts are embracing a holistic approach to holidaying that reduces the environmental effects of a guest’s stay. Likewise, consumers are now more inclined to fly less frequently, preferring one long-haul holiday a year rather than multiple short hauls.
Big Bucket List Wellness Trip
For many wellness trend travelers, eager to rid themselves of the unhealthy habits picked up during lockdown, 2021 is going to be the year for a once in a lifetime bucket list wellness trip. Many seasoned wellness trend travelers are keen on adventurous wellness getaways and weeks of lavish splendor. With many people feeling their health suffered from the confines of lockdown, health-conscious and ambitious traveler are seeing 2021 as an opportunity to return to that pre-lockdown level with a once in a lifetime wellness trip.
Wellness Real Estate Gains Momentum
In 2018, GWI researchers forecasted that the wellness real estate and communities market would be the fastest-growing wellness segment over the next few years: expanding from a $134 billion market in 2017 to $198 billion by 2022 (or 8 percent annually). Those numbers may be surpassed given the Covid-19 crisis, which has rapidly accelerated people’s desire to bring far more wellness into their homes and to live in intentionally wellness-focused communities. GWI’s Build Well to Live Well research reported that there were roughly 750 global wellness real estate/community projects built or in the development pipeline in 2018; GWI researchers expect that number to grow significantly. (IANS)
The only way to move forward is to leave something behind. With 2021 around the corner, everyone wants to forget their woes and look forward to a bright and cheery future. After witnessing the worst shut down ever, the F&B industry is getting back to its feet by adopting means to adhere to the new normal.
Leveraging the pool of data from its B2B platform, Dineout has come up with the expected trends in the F&B industry by 2021. These are the result of an analysis of more than 15000 restaurants using inresto’s Contactless Dining suite of products.
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The Pandemic has transformed every aspect of the F&B industry. These trends are set to dominate the industry and equip restaurants to stay ahead of the curve in the coming years. From Cloud Kitchens to Staycations with Dineout’s latest white paper:
As the consumer is seeking higher safety and hygiene measures at the restaurants, the adoption of the digital menu is becoming the new normal that supports social distancing within the restaurant. As per Dineout’s latest whitepaper, the Digital menu has infiltrated about 50 percent of the market and projected to grow 90 percent by 2021. Restaurants adopting digital ways in daily operations like a digital menu, digital payments, digital feedback, and technology to communicate with their customers will be successful.
Takeaway and Delivery services
Restaurants are expanding their offerings to takeaway and delivery services keeping with the changing trends to cater to the new demands of the consumers. Takeaways and deliveries will gain prime focus post COVID era for restaurants to stay financially viable amid strict social distancing norms. These services will continue to garner undivided attention and grow exponentially by 15 percent & 30.55 percent respectively.
Budding Home Chefs
Pandemic has led to a surge in demand for home-cooked food and a consequent rise in demand for food prepared by local home cooks and bakers. Dineout report indicates a further rise in number by 4X in 2021.
Increasing trends of delivery and takeaway, fast-paced lifestyles, and changed consumer behavior has further driven the rise of Cloud kitchens in India. At the moment it holds a 13 percent market share and is expected to expand to approximately 30 percent in the coming year.
Healthier Food Choices
Consumers are now more careful than ever while making food choices. There is a paradigm shift in food consumption from comfort food to healthy dishes and more vegetarian options. The report suggested that 45 percent of young adults will make healthier food choices by 2021. The study has revealed some interesting insights into the parallel side of the industry.
Staycation is the new buzzword and has given the industry an alternate source for revenue generation. Staycation & Workation combined will rule 80 percent of the market by 2021. Similarly, drive-in theaters struggling to make a mark in the pre-covid area will see a surge of 12 percent in the coming years. (IANS)