The Rummy Federation (TRF)
By and large, online rummy businesses have operated in a self-regulated manner, individually catering to the interests of various stakeholders (primarily players) based on their own learnings. Given the size of the industry and its growth prospects, everyone in the industry sees the building of a common self- regulatory platform as the logical next step. The Rummy Federation (TRF) is such an initiative by the online Rummy industry to collate their individual learnings and also proactively adopt state-of-the-art practices from countries where the industry is regulated. TRF aspires to be the gold standard of self-regulation for the online rummy industry and be an example for other online games entertainment. TRF shall engage with experts in various fields including, technology, payments, gaming regulation, law and other ITES industries and will function as a neutral self-regulatory body to ensure that the guidelines and recommendations for the online rummy operators are forward looking and of very high standards.
Mr. Trivikraman Thampy (Vikram), Co-Founder and CEO, Head Infotech: An avid online gamer in his college years, Vikram’s steadfast focus on delivering an awesome playing experience is quite definitively an outcome of his keen perception of what he wants from a game as a gamer. Vikram has lead RummyCircle through several rounds of angel funding, two rounds of venture funding, several very successful product releases and marketing campaigns. While Vikram is still involved in the strategic roadmap formulation for RummyCircle, his key area of focus now is the rapidly emerging mobile games space in India. Vikram has an engineering degree from IIT Bombay and a PhD in Economics from New York University.
Mr. Deepak Gullipali, Director, The Rummy Federation and India Head – Head Infotech: Deepak is currently overseeing Head Infotech’s consolidation of its rummy business and diversification into other verticals. A technocrat who pioneered the online rummy business and built the business from a garage into a multi-million dollar enterprise over 10 years. He is involved in various charitable causes at a personal level and has also ensured a high growth in Head Infotech’s CSR outlay. In his spare time, Deepak is an avid golfer and plays across the country.
Mario Galea is one of the original pioneers of online gambling having extensive experience over the last 17 years in both the regulatory and operational sectors. In 2004, Mario founded, and was the first CEO of, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority in Malta (LGA) which is well known throughout the gaming industry for its Lotteries and Other Games Act. During his tenure, he guided the island to become the world’s central hub of online gambling with a total to date of 200 operators licensed.
In an exclusive interaction with Prakash Kumar Singh of The Policy Times, TRF Lead team shared their thoughts about the online gaming culture particularly Rummy games in India.
Q. Can you tell something about the timeline of Rummy game in India?
TRF: The game of Rummy was very popular family game. People like to play rummy while journey, traveling and traditional form of game was from the very beginning. We learn this game from our respective (Grandmothers). This game was very popular in the south and western part of India but we are making efforts to make this game popular pan India. There is proper club in gymkhana club in Delhi.
The technology like smartphone, portable devices like tablet, laptop have made this game approachable to many people digitally. In addition to this cheaper data service like jio have made our work easy. In our plat.
Q. How does the online Rummy game come into trend?
TRF: We started in 1998, at that time the word internet and online game was not familiar with the masses. So we started with simple regulation with economic benefits. In 2000 we sat up a datacenter for online gaming which is first of its kind, by 2003 online game got much recognition but there were limitation like fraud, money laundering and hacking. So by 2007 we got into rummy game along this there are hundreds of online game which are competition to us. But with the time game become popular that has now value of 700 to 800 cr.
Q. When did you people decide to form “THE RUMMY FEDERATION”?
TRF: When we saw the market of rummy game reached 700 to 800 cr. So it was the perfect to standardize the game. We want to regularize, make standard integrity and we can need to take in confidence the smaller operators.
There are 3 categories of the rummy game operators
- Big rummy operators: Play game 24*7, Rummy circle and head infotech etc
- Medium rummy operators: Jungly rummy, Classics Rummy etc
- Smaller rummy operators: Taj Rummy, Passion Rummy etc
Q. Your views on the supreme court verdict that “Rummy is a skill based game”?
TRF: The supreme court after thoroughly examining the game. Not twice but many time examining the game said that “rummy involved a substantial amount of skill and therefore could not be termed gambling.” It is more like organizing a chess game with entry fee. No card game is made clear by Supreme Court that it is game of skill and a gambling game.
Q.Is there a difference between International and Indian rummy game?
TRF: Indian rummy game is a 13 cards game. There are rummy aboard like GIN RUMMY which is 10 card game. But we offer 13 card rummy game in India on which Supreme Court made the verdict. Other game like poker and teen patti, there is chance and element to skill to bluff but in rummy you have to be alert of which card the other player put on and which card you have put on to win the game. So at last it’s a skill based game which requires calculation and maths.
Eg. Sachin Tendulkar is a good cricket player so he will remain good cricketer for longer time. Similarly in rummy good player always become better with this time.