Indian video game industry in turmoil over real money gambling regulation

Over 40 Indian video game and e-sports companies have sent a letter to the Ministry of Electronics, Information, and... Shubh | 17. January 2023

Over 40 Indian video game and e-sports companies have sent a letter to the Ministry of Electronics, Information, and Technology in response to the impending amendment to the IT laws, requesting a legal separation between them and other games that involves money and betting.

India’s central government recently designated the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) as the main organization to oversee the country’s gaming and esports industry. This move was expected to bring the industry legitimacy as it eagerly awaited regulatory reform to draw in more capital and safeguard the gaming industry’s young customer base.

As the new governing body works to implement some new upgrades in the gaming industry, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rule 2021 will soon receive a new modification from MeITY. The new amendments propose establishing a self-regulatory body for certifying online games permitted in India. Furthermore, according to the new amendment, online betting games are prohibited in the country. 

MeitY also proposed a self-regulatory mechanism, mandatory KYC player verification, and procedures for dispute settlement with the intention of protecting users from any harm from games involving money and also making sure that these games are in compliance with Indian regulations. The new regulation, however, alarmed a few companies in the video gaming sector since they do not want to be governed by the same rules as platforms that accept real money bets. 

Several video game and esports companies submit requests to MeITY

A group of over 40 Indian esports and video game businesses has submitted a request to MeitY to establish a legal distinction between online games and real-money games. The fundamental issue with the current drought, according to the request, is that online games played for real money are included under the same category as video games. Gaming companies are concerned about the blurred line between them and “real money games” (RMG), which are frequently in the grey area due to state gambling regulations and laws.

A comprehensive, video game-focused policy in accordance with international best practices was requested by the gaming industry. The video game industry has also requested that video games should be governed by an age and content rating system that is specific to the Indian audience by establishing a video games industry-specific self-regulatory body.

Developers of Ludo King, Gametion, two significant gaming live-streaming sites, Loco and Rooter, as well as the makers of Indus and MaskGun, are just a few Indian companies that have signed this representative letter. The initiative was coordinated by Chennai-based Outlier Games. The industry has also requested a stakeholder meeting with MeitY in the letter.

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