The government has proposed a self-regulatory mechanism, mandatory verification of players, physical Indian address and additional due diligence for online gaming companies, according to the draft online gaming rules published on Monday.
Online gaming companies will be covered under the new IT rules that were issued in 2021 for social media platforms.
The online gaming platforms are expected to comply with the laws of the land, including any such law that relates to gambling or betting or the age at which an individual is competent to enter into a contract.
"With the user base of online games growing in India, need has been felt to ensure that such
games be offered in conformity with Indian laws and that the users of such games be
safeguarded against potential harm," the notice said.
''The draft amendments are aimed at addressing the said need while enabling the growth of the online gaming industry in a responsible manner,'' the notice added.
The draft amendments envisage that an online gaming intermediary will observe the due diligence required under the rules, ''including reasonable efforts to cause its users not to host, display, upload, publish, transmit or share an online game not in conformity with Indian law, including any law on gambling or betting''.
The draft rules prescribe additional due diligence for companies by displaying a registration mark on all online games registered by a self-regulatory body and informing its users regarding its policy related to withdrawal or refund of the deposit, manner of determination and distribution of winnings, fees and other charges payable and KYC procedure for user account registration. ''Self-regulatory bodies will be registered with the ministry (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) and may register online games of such online gaming intermediaries who are its members and which meet certain criteria. Such bodies will also resolve complaints through a grievance redressal mechanism,'' the notice said. The Ministry of Electronics and IT has invited public comments on the draft rule by January 17.
MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the ministry hopes to start consultation early next week with gamers, startups, gaming companies, investors.
"Our job is to prescribe rules for the safe and trusted functioning of the internet. Our intention is to ensure growth in the gaming sector. We want more and more online gaming intermediaries but we do not want them to allow wagering on the outcome of their games," said Chandrasekhar.
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