The ministry of electronics and IT has notified the final amendments to the IT Rules, 2021, for online gaming to protect the safety and trust of ‘digital nagriks’.
“Online gaming is certainly a huge opportunity for India and young Indians. We see the Indian online gaming ecosystem to expand and grow into a multi-billion dollar industry and be an important catalyst to India’s $1-trillion digital economy goal by 2025-26, with clear restrictions on online wagering and betting,” said union minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
The minister said the new guidelines were intended to address issues posed by the proliferation of online gambling and betting services across the country. He said the guidelines had been created to ensure that India’s internet was open and safe, as well as trustworthy and accountable.
While internet gaming created a significant opportunity for start-ups, Chandrasekhar said there was some doubt about what was legal, which the new guidelines aimed to address. Online games that collect money and are involved in wagering or betting will be subject to new online gaming regulations, he added.
So, the new rules will include a framework of several self-regulatory (SROs) entities. There will be many SROs, and all stakeholders including but not limited to the industry, will take part in these SROs. It was also said private companies have provided SRO models, which will be discussed with them. SRO will be notified by the government and will be a self-contained entity.
“We’re starting with three SROs. If there is a need for additional, we will obtain it,” Chandrasekhar said.
The SRO will evaluate whether or not all online games were permitted, basing its judgement on the principles of whether wagering was involved. Aside from the SRO, however, the government has also made KYC (know your customer) verification for online gaming essential.
Roland Landers, CEO of All India Gaming Federation, applauded the government’s decision and said this was a decisive first step for comprehensive regulation for online gaming and will propel the industry to compete globally.
“These rules will go a long way in promoting consumer interest while helping the industry grow responsibly and transparently and will also help curb the menace of anti-national and illegal offshore gambling sites, which have been proliferating in the last few years,” he said.
He added: “We look forward to assisting the industry transition to the self-regulatory model envisioned under the rules and use learnings from the years of work that has been undertaken at the All India Skill Games Council (AIGSC), the oldest and largest voluntary self-regulatory body for online gaming.”
Meanwhile, Sai Srinivas, CEO and Co-Founder of MPL said that the uniform legal framework provided by these rules will boost investor confidence.
“We anticipate that this will also help reduce regulatory fragmentation at the state level, create a more stable business environment and weed out gambling platforms,” he noted.
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