According to industry research estimates, the online gaming industry is worth Rs 150,000 crore and is expected to double by 2025. The online gaming industry was brought under MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology).

The year 2023 has brought a new dawn for the online gaming industry. The Government of India has appointed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as the nodal ministry to safeguard the interests of the citizens and ensure the all-around development of the industry. This could be a turning point for the online gaming industry which has been grappling with several issues regarding its constitutional operation. This is a positive sign to provide clarity and certainty to the online gaming sector.

According to industry research estimates, the online gaming industry is worth Rs 150,000 crore and is expected to double by 2025. The online gaming industry has been brought under MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) and the Minister of Information Technology, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar has announced a draft of rules to regulate the sector.

For the past several months, companies and organizations associated with the industry have been talking about the creation of various regulatory bodies and trying to tell that due to this, the progress of the industry is being hindered. The appointment of MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) as the nodal ministry has paved the way for the creation of a regulatory body at the national level.

Responsible gaming and accountability are two key pillars keeping in mind that MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) has amended the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 to regulate the legal functioning of the online gaming industry. Presented blueprints for Online gaming companies have been defined as intermediaries and the Center has been identified as the governing authority of online gaming. But what do the rules issued by the ministry mean?

The proposed rules provide for the formation of a self-regulatory body. Who will have the responsibility of approving the games? It is proposed to compulsorily register online gaming companies with this self-regulatory body. It has an additional mandate that the companies will not be allowed to indulge in any gambling, betting, or betting activity on the outcome of the games.

To foster innovation and growth of the industry, it is proposed that this self-regulatory body shall have a Board of Directors drawn from diverse fields such as public policy, information technology, psychology, and medicine to provide consumer and consumer support in granting operational permission for online gaming. Or the interest of the common people can be given paramount importance. This content-related rule also takes into account that 40-45% of active gamers in the country are women so security becomes the most important issue.

To establish an orderly mechanism to protect users from potential losses, suitable norms and rules have been put in place. Online gaming companies will be required to do KYC (Know Your Customer) of all users based on the norms as directed by RBI. Transparency of transactions is another parameter that has been mandated by the draft rules keeping in mind the transaction of money, including the delivery of the winning amount or item to the user.

These rules also mandate responsible gaming measures to protect users from game addiction and financial loss. Taking into account every aspect of the operation of the online gaming industry, these regulations also provide for a robust grievance redressal mechanism, with nodal officers and users in the capacity of direct liaison with compliance officers, government, and monitoring enforcement agencies. Mandatory appointment of Grievance Officer for redressal of grievances.

Efforts should also be made to promote responsible advertising for online gaming companies in regulated venues to reduce their influence because of illegal foreign and domestic betting, and gambling sites luring customers through surrogate advertising. The guidelines were proposed by ASCI on the advice given earlier by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Self-regulatory bodies may ensure that these advertisements comply with these guidelines regarding age restrictions, disclaimers regarding financial risks and other risks of addiction, and do not promote participation in sports as an income opportunity. Banning these to prevent users from being attracted to sites operating from outside the country.

Concerns raised by various stakeholders including parents, students, investors, gaming companies