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Government Announces New Online Gaming Rules; Industry Lauds the Move Under the new rules, real money games involving wagering or betting have been prohibited. Permissible online games are referred to as those games which do not involve wagering, use harmful content, and do not create any addictive consequences for young users.

By Paromita Gupta

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On Thursday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) notified new regulations to monitor online gaming platforms. Under these rules, real money games involving wagering or betting have been prohibited.

"This is an enabling framework to allow the serious and significant expansion in the online gaming space in India, which is a very big opportunity," said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT.

Which games will be permissible?

Those that do not involve wagering, use harmful content, and do not create any addictive consequences for young users. On being asked about some mobile applications which assure monetary rewards based on Indian Premier League matches, Chandrasekhar noted that real-money gaming is permitted, but it would become a non-permissible game when money is bet based on the outcome of a game.

KYC norms are needed for real money games, as per the rules.

Self Regulatory Organizations

Chandrasekhar added that the government has decided to opt for a self-regulation model for this sector. The online gaming platforms will be regulated by Self-regulatory Organizations (SROs) comprising industry players, gamers, an educationist, a psychology or mental health professional, and an (ex)member of an organization working in safeguarding child rights.

The government will notify three SROs and delegate the responsibility of approving games to operate in the country as per guidelines. Under the guidelines, SROs will be required to create a framework for the protection of users/players against financial loss and fraud on websites and gaming addiction. In case of a lack of following rules, the SROs would be denotified.

The framework also requires a repeated warning message at a high-frequency display to users beyond a rational duration of a gaming session and a provision to allow users to remove themselves from the environment after reaching the said limit.

Industry Commends the Call

The new rules have been welcomed by the industry and the bodies alike. Says Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation, "As the oldest, largest, and most diverse industry association for online gaming in the country, we are grateful to MeitY for notifying the amendments to regulate online gaming under the Indian Information Technology Act, and acknowledging the long-standing demand of the gamers and the online gaming industry. We believe this is a decisive first step for comprehensive regulation for online gaming and, will propel the industry to compete globally, as envisioned by the Hon'ble Prime Minister. We are especially grateful that the Government recognised the industry demands and provided light touch, but comprehensive regulations, which will support innovation, boost Create in India and Brand India, and propel India's Techade."

Lander further added, "These rules will go a long way in promoting consumer interest while helping the industry grow responsibly and transparently and will also help in curbing the menace of anti-national and illegal offshore gambling sites, which have been proliferating in the last few years."

According to Joy Bhattacharjya, Director-General, Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports, the notification of MeitY rules marks a pivotal moment for the online gaming industry in India. "It is expected to put an end to the ambiguities that the industry was grappling with and lay the foundation for sustainable and responsible growth of the industry. India's online gaming industry has already attracted $2.5B in FDI and we are hopeful that this will propel the industry to great heights and encourage innovation. We look forward to engaging with MeitY to seek requisite clarifications as our members initiate the compliance process."

"The rules notified today are a landmark steps that will immensely help the gaming industry and provide lot of clarity on the sector. It is heartening to see that the ministry has considered and incorporated most of the feedback shared by Nazara and the gaming industry, since the draft rules were first announced few weeks back," said Nitish Mittersain, Founder and CEO, Nazara Technologies.

Paromita Gupta

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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