comScore

How it Works

Centre releases draft rules to regulate gaming in the country

The draft has a strong focus on code of ethics, grievance redressal mechanism, self-regulation, furnishing of information and content guidelines.

By  Tasmayee Laha RoyJan 3, 2023 9:10 AM
Centre releases draft rules to regulate gaming in the country
As per the draft, self-regulatory bodies will be registered with the ministry and may register online games of such online gaming intermediaries who are its members and which meet certain criteria. Such bodies will also resolve complaints through a grievance redressal mechanism. (Representative Image: Florian Olivo via Unsplash)

The gaming industry and all its stakeholders in India have long been waiting for a policy or regulation in the space. After recognizing esports as a part of multi-sports events, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has prepared draft amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The draft amendments are aimed at addressing the need for regulation while enabling the growth of the online gaming industry in a responsible manner.

The draft has a strong focus on code of ethics, grievance redressal mechanism, self-regulation, furnishing of information and content guidelines.

A notice issued by the ministry says, “The draft amendments envisage that an online gaming intermediary shall observe the due diligence required under the rules while discharging its duties, including reasonable efforts to cause its users not to host, display, upload, publish, transmit or share an online game not in conformity with Indian law, including any law on gambling or betting.”

“Moreover, it shall observe additional due diligence by displaying a registration mark on all online games registered by a self-regulatory body and informing its users regarding its policy related to withdrawal or refund of deposit, manner of determination and distribution of winnings, fees and other charges payable and KYC procedure for user account registration,” the notice says.

As per the draft, self-regulatory bodies will be registered with the ministry and may register online games of such online gaming intermediaries who are its members and which meet certain criteria. Such bodies will also resolve complaints through a grievance redressal mechanism.

Businesses in the space see this as a welcome move that would boost the growth of the industry that according to an EY-All India Gaming Federation report, has the potential to generate $2 billion by 2023.

"We at Nazara believe this is a welcome step, where the Central government (and MEITY) have laid out their preferred approach to regulation of the gaming sector, especially skill based real money gaming. There are a number of recommendations which will ensure safety of players and responsible gaming. In addition, it lays down a process by which the industry will self-regulate itself under the guidance of MEITY,” said Nitish Mittersain, founder and CEO at Nazara Technologies.

Mittersain believes the move can catalyze a lot of growth for the industry, which will in turn result in significant job creation as well as accelerate India’s position on the global gaming map.

Deepak Gullapalli, founder and CEO at Head Digital Works says this not only shows the government’s interest in hearing the opinions of all stakeholders but at the same time legitimizes and upholds the online real money gaming industry in India.

“On first glance, the draft is poised towards keeping in check the illegitimate offshore operators breeding in the country which is a long awaited decision,” he Gullapalli said.

For Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation among all the other value adds that a regulation shall provide, it is also a first step for comprehensive regulation for online gaming that will reduce the state-wise regulatory fragmentation that was a big challenge for the industry.

“These rules will go a long way in ensuring consumer interest while helping the industry grow responsibly and transparently. These rules will also be a start in curbing the menace of anti-national and illegal offshore gambling platforms,” he said.

The draft amendments are on the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology website and feedback on the same shall be accepted till 17.1.2023.

First Published on Jan 2, 2023 7:02 PM