Mumbai Police Beefs Up Security Outside Shah Rukh Khan’s Home Mannat Amid Protests Over His Online Gaming Ad

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is awaiting the release of his upcoming film Jawan, has landed in trouble over one of his ads related to online gaming. The actor recently became the brand ambassador of A23 Games, an online rummy platform, and shot a promo for the app in which he can be heard saying, “Chalo Saath Khelein.”

However, this did not go down well with some groups who accused the actor of promoting gambling and misleading the youth. A forum called Untouch Youth Foundation announced a protest outside the actor’s residence, Mannat, in Bandra, Bandstand, on Saturday, August 26.

How did the police react?

The Mumbai Police were alerted about the planned protest and deployed heavy security outside Mannat to prevent any untoward incident. According to media reports, the police also detained four to five people who were part of the protest.

The president of Untouch Youth Foundation, Krishchandra Adal, said that they were against online gaming apps and portals like Junglee Rummy, Zupee, and others that are endorsed by famous actors and actresses. He claimed that these platforms corrupt and misguide the youth and demanded that these advertisements be stopped.

He added, “Apart from Shah Rukh Khan, we oppose Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet Singh, Prakash Raj, Annu Kapoor, Rana Daggubati and cricketers who promote the online game. We wanted to protest outside the houses of these stars as well, but the police detained us.”

For unversed, Shah Rukh Khan is the brand ambassador for A23 Games. It is reportedly an online rummy portal.

Also read: EXCLUSIVE: Shah Rukh Khan To Launch Jawan Music At Big Event In Chennai On 30th September

What is the legal status of online gaming in India?

Online gaming is a complex and controversial issue in India as different states have different laws and regulations regarding it. While some states like Nagaland, Sikkim, and Goa have legalized and regulated online gaming, others like Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala have banned it.

The central government has not enacted any specific law on online gaming at the national level. However, it has clarified that online games involving skill are not considered gambling under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and are therefore legal. On the other hand, online games involving chance are considered gambling under the IPC and are therefore illegal.

However, there is no clear definition of what constitutes skill and chance in online games and this has led to ambiguity and confusion among players, operators, and authorities. Moreover, there are also ethical and social concerns about the impact of online gaming on addiction, mental health, money laundering, fraud, and cybercrime.

What is the future of online gaming in India?

Despite the legal and moral challenges, online gaming is a booming industry in India with a huge potential for growth. According to a report by KPMG and Google, the online gaming market in India was valued at $1.1 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $3.1 billion by 2023.

The report also stated that India had 365 million online gamers in 2020 and this number is projected to increase to 510 million by 2023. The report attributed this growth to factors such as increasing internet penetration, smartphone affordability, digital payments, and rising disposable income.

The report also highlighted some of the emerging trends in online gaming such as fantasy sports, esports, casual games, social games, cloud gaming, and immersive technologies. The report suggested that these segments offer immense opportunities for innovation and monetization for both domestic and foreign players.

However, the report also cautioned that the online gaming industry in India faces several challenges such as lack of clarity on regulations, high taxation rates, low awareness among consumers, inadequate infrastructure, piracy issues, and cyber threats. The report recommended that these challenges be addressed through collaborative efforts by the government, industry associations, operators, developers, investors, and consumers.

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