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Govt panel calls for regulatory body, new law for online gaming

A new government report seen by Reuters, calls for a regulatory authority to monitor and classify online gaming websites in India.

The report, drafted by a panel of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top officials, called for intervention and a stricter classification of India’s online gaming sector.

Previously, Indian skill based gaming start-up’s and industry associations sought a mechanism to regulate gaming platforms and classify online games based on skill or chance, helping the industry differentiate between games and gambling.

The meeting with Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar took place on June 7, and the two-hour long session featured founders from several top mobile gaming platforms in India, including Nazara technologies, Mobile Premier League (MPL), and Dream Sports.

The new report follows up on this meeting, and calls for extensive regulation and classification. It also proposes the industry be regulated through rules covered under India’s existing IT law as an “Interim measure.”

The proposed law will outline requirements to classify games as skill or chance, and will determine new gaming formats. This framework will apply to esports, online fantasy sports, card games and other casual games. These rules will have to be followed by Indian companies, and companies that target Indian consumers.

Also proposed is a “Code of Ethics” for gaming publishers, that will require a robust grievance redressal mechanism and conformity to India’s KYC norms. Under the new laws, any gambling platform that offers real money games to Indian consumers will need to be a legal entity under Indian law.

The law will also provide the government with blocking power for unregistered platforms. It also necessitates a three-tier dispute resolution system and an oversight committee set-up within an appropriate ministry within the government.

The overall gaming market in India was estimated to be worth Rs 13,600 crore in 2021, and is expected to reach Rs 29,000 crore by 2025. Reuters

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