“Govt introduces strict guidelines for responsible online gaming”,

Legal Landscape of Online Gaming in India: MeitY Introduces New Rules and Guidelines

India has seen significant growth in its online gaming industry despite various State laws banning gambling and betting activities. However, concerns over addiction, inappropriate content, and money laundering have emerged in recent years. To address these concerns, the Ministry of Electronics and IT has introduced new amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules in April 2023.

The new rules aim to promote responsible gaming and protect Indian users from illegal gambling and betting websites and apps. Intermediaries, including social media platforms and app stores, are required to make reasonable efforts to not host, publish or share any online game that causes user harm or which has not been verified as a permissible online game by an online gaming self-regulatory body designated by the Central Government.

The rules introduce the concept of ‘permissible online game’ and ban online sites and games that involve wagering, including advertising and any presence. The rules also require SRBs to ensure that any online game is tested against the framework published on its website. The framework must mandatorily include measures to ensure the interests of sovereignty and integrity, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, and public order. Moreover, safeguards against user harm, parental controls, age-rating mechanism, and gaming addiction must be in place.

The rules also enhance public awareness of trusted online games that have undergone a mandatory verification process. SRBs are required to publish an updated list of all permissible online real money games verified by them, present and former SRB members, and their corporate or business-related identity number. Online gaming intermediaries must also comply with various requirements, including mandatory KYC, monetary protection measures, and no credit financing options.

The rules enable an aggrieved user to have an option to appeal before the Grievance Appellate Committee against the decision of the Grievance Officer of the online gaming intermediary concerned. SRBs must be accountable for performing their functions responsibly, and the board of directors must consist of members free from conflict of interest and represent all relevant stakeholders.

Overall, the Ministry’s new rules and guidelines ensure transparency, accountability, and safeguard Indian users from illegal and harmful online gaming activities while promoting responsible gaming practices.