The writing’s on the wall for non-profit organization All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), according to its former general secretary.
In a commentary posted on Glaws.in, former AIGF General Secretary Jay Sayta called for immediate reforms after the group saw a series of setbacks, including the group’s failure to create a unified framework for self-regulation, protection of consumers and responsible gaming.
Sayta, one of the founding signatories of AIGF, feared that the group that was envisioned as an umbrella body to push the interests of all gambling industry stakeholders would become irrelevant in the future.
“In light of the aforementioned grave concerns, AIGF should evaluate and introspect whether it is necessary to revamp the organizational structure, team and priorities and align it in a manner that would effectively enable it to achieve its stated goals,” Sayta said.
There were at least three major reasons why the body had failed so many times since its 2016 launch, according to Sayta. First, members’ internal contradictions have hindered moving the group’s agenda forward.
Sayta also blamed AIGF CEO Roland Landers’ ‘lackadaisical attitude’ for the setbacks the group experienced in its two-year existence. He said Landers could have brought the government and stakeholders together to form a cohesive strategy but the AIGF CEO was halfhearted to do so.
He also considered Landers’ lack of in-depth understanding on how the industry functions to be a handicap.
“Again, the fact that Landers had been an employee of and still closely works with one of the founding members, Essel Group, and bends backwards to please only one member at the expense of others, has not gone down well with many other operators,” Sayta pointed out.
Sayta stirred the hornet’s nest further when he called out the mismanagement of AIGF’s finances. He claimed that the member fees go toward exorbitant salaries and perks of federation executives instead of policy issues hounding the industry.
For this reason, Sayta believed that the group needs to reevaluate itself to ensure its survival.
“A strong, robust and effective body to voice all stakeholders’ interests and concerns is crucial for the gaming industry’s survival. A performance and financial audit of the body’s activities in the last two years might be a good step towards ensuring accountability and transparency,” he said.