Online gaming companies will not be allowed to engage in betting on the outcome of games under the principle laid in draft rules, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Monday.
The minister said that as of now, all permissible online gaming will need to be registered with a self-regulatory organisation that will be accountable to the online gaming rules.
“As per the principles laid under the rule, wagering on the outcome of [the] game will not be allowed. All online gaming companies will have to register with the self-regulatory body that will decide on the action required to be taken as per the rules,” Chandrasekhar said.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT has published draft rules for online gaming companies and has invited comments on the same by January 17. The objective of the rule is to grow the online gaming sector and encourage innovation, he added.
The minister said that he expects the online gaming rules to be ready in early February
In a statement, Nitish Mittersain, Founder & CEO, Nazara Technologies, on the policy said, “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.”
Adding that the company will provide its inputs after further study during the one-month consultation period, he added, “However, on behalf of the Indian gaming industry as well as Nazara, our sincere thanks to MEITY and Shri Rajeev Chandrashekhar for taking this important step forward, and we think this can catalyse 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”
Sameer Barde, CEO, E-Gaming Federation, said that the proposed amendments “are a very constructive and promising move” and added, “The amendments emphasise on the constitution of a self-regulatory body (SRO), which would be registered with the Ministry of Electronics & IT, with a focus on light-touch regulation.
He added, “The SRO would ensure a robust time-bound grievance redressal mechanism, registration of online gaming intermediaries, promoting responsible gaming through age verification, and rigorous KYC process, and undertake safeguard measures against addiction, financial distress, etc.
“Overall, we feel, these moves will eventually help the government establish a regulated and sustainable industry while promoting responsible gaming. We’re truly excited about the future of the online gaming industry and as a self-regulatory body, E-Gaming Federation looks forward to playing an active role in shaping the future of the sector.”
(Quotes by Nazara and E-Gaming Federation have been added to this PTI copy for context.)