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Central government notifies online gaming rules

In January, Bar and Bench had explained the draft rules on how the Centre proposed to safeguard users from financial risks, addiction.

The Draft Rules had defined a gaming platform as an “online gaming intermediary” which will have games registered with a “self-regulatory body”. The Ministry will register the regulatory body upon an application made by it.

The body will be responsible for declaring if an online real money game is permissible on the basis of whether it involves wagering.

The self-regulatory body would comprise, among others, an independent person from the field of online gaming, sports or entertainment; an individual from the field of psychology, medicine or consumer education; and an individual from the field of public policy, public administration, law enforcement or public finance, to be nominated by the Central government.

The notification states that the Ministry will appoint multiple online gaming self-regulatory bodies for the purposes of verifying whether an online real money game is a permissible game under these Rules.

“An online gaming intermediary, which enables access to its users to any permissible online real money game, shall display a demonstrable and visible mark of verification of such online game by an online gaming self-regulatory body on such permissible online real money game,” the notification had stated.

Crucially, the Rules ask the gaming intermediaries to include a policy related to withdrawal or refund of the deposit made with the expectation of earning winnings, the manner of determination and distribution of such winnings and the fees and other charges payable by the user.

Some of the key roles of the self-regulatory bodies are as follows:

  • It shall publish and maintain on its website, mobile-based application or both, at all times, an updated list of all permissible online real money games that have been verified;
  • It can suspend or revoke the verification of a gaming intermediary after giving an opportunity of being heard if satisfied that the online real money game verified by it is not in compliance with the Rules.
  • It shall publish on its website, mobile-based application or both, a framework for verifying an online real money game, which includes, among others, the following; measures to ensure that such online real money game is not against the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India; safeguards against user harm, including self-harm and psychological harm; measures to safeguard children, including measures for parental or access control; and measures to safeguard users against the risk of gaming addiction, financial loss and financial fraud.

Bar and Bench

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