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PUBG ‘jockeys’ are minting money in India

PUBG gamers in India are using their skills to earn cash through wagers by placing bets on themselves

Saturday, March 23, 2019

PUBG gamers in India are using their skills to earn cash through wagers by placing bets on themselves, according to Indian media.

Cybersecurity and legal experts say that’s in violation of the ban on such activity, which has previously got India’s favourite sport of crickin trouble several times.

What’s interesting is that players of the widely popular PUBG, backed by China’s Tencent, are mostly college goers who earn from Rs 100 to 5,000 a day, depending on their expertise.

Online betting would earlier involve the exchange of coins or incentives to proceed in the game but now it’s being done through real cash with the use of Google Pay and Paytm, said the experts.

PUBG or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, an online multi-player game, has topped the charts both on Google and iOS. Up to 100 players are pitted against each other after being para-dropped onto the territory.

Each player has a virtual character or avatar that can play alone or team up with others to make kills, the intent being to stay alive. Bettors team up within small groups to defeat other players and then carry on the battle among themselves.

Google Pay’s policies stipulate that any sort of online or offline gambling, where money or other items of value are paid in exchange to win real money or prizes based on the outcome of a game, is not allowed and accounts will be suspended as punishment. Google said the authorities have not flagged any such cases to them so far.

Videogame players will disagree with the view that no skill is involved. Globally, the videogame industry is bigger than the movie business and livestreaming of such matches has emerged as a key area for Amazon-backed Twitch and Google’s recently launched Stadia among others. Top videogame players are well paid and e-sports will reportedly be part of the 2024 Olympics.