Online gaming in India was under social scrutiny, for the community would always look at it from the gambling perspective. The government has finally intervened to set the differences aside once and for all. In a recent development, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has rolled out the rules for online gaming. They are currently in the draft stage but will soon be implemented.
First issued in January 2023, the rules for online gaming have been framed with excessive consultation from the industry. The aim is to enforce greater due diligence through online gaming and social media intermediaries. Most of it pertains to the content and false or misleading information being spread about government business.
To start with, the term Online Gaming has a clear definition with no mention of betting or wagering. It encompasses content that is offered on the internet and can be accessed through computer devices or any intermediary.
Next, the government would appoint three SROs, short for Self-Regulatory Organizations. They will be tasked with approving the gaming content only if it does not include betting or wagering of any kind with real money on the outcome. SROs will have experts from different fields, like child experts and psychology experts, among many others.
SROs can only declare a game permissible if it does not involve wagering on any outcome. A game would only be deemed permissible if it does not involve any form of wagering. In other words, a game’s legality is determined by whether or not it involves betting and wagering on any outcome.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of the department, has said that the ministry is only regulating real-money games that involve wagering. In other words, every other type of game is permissible.
Gamers involved in games with real money will have to go through KYC verification on the platform. The IT Ministry has notified that this is on top of the SRO being formed. Agencies will be notified to fact-check information being circulated via the content, ensuring that wrong or misleading information related to the business of the government does not crop up in the digital environment.
The online gaming industry has come forward to thank the government, saying that it was important to draw a distinction between them and the gambling platforms. Sai Srinivas, calling it a watershed moment, has expressed confidence in the development, saying that it will help realize the vision of the Indian Prime Minister of making India a global hub for gaming. The Chief Executive Officer and Founder of MPL has also said that the framework will boost the confidence of investors while lowering regulatory fragmentation at the state level.
Deepak Gullapalli has called this a turning point for the online gaming industry. The Chief Executive Officer & Founder of Head Digital Works (A23) says they look forward to working with the government to promote responsible gaming and create a thriving sector in India.