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India should create a regulatory body to classify online games as based on skill or chance, introduce rules to block prohibited formats and take a stricter stance on online gambling, a government panel said in a report seen by Reuters.

The much-awaited report is seen as shaping the future of the mobile gaming industry in India, estimated to reach $5 billion by 2025, from $1.5 billion currently.

Here are some of the highlights of the panel’s proposed regulatory framework recommendation in its draft report:

-The federal government should consider enacting a separate law to regulate online gaming as a “long-term measure”. As an “interim measure”, until such a new law is enacted, the industry can be regulated through rules drafted under India’s existing IT law.

-India’s IT ministry would act as the central ministry for online gaming, except for e-sports and games of chance.

-Any new legal framework should apply to both real money and free games of skill, including esports, online fantasy sports, card games and such other casual games that may impose significant impact. The rules would apply to both gaming companies in India and those operating outside but targeting Indian users.

-Creation of a regulatory body for online gaming industry, which among other things will determine what qualifies as a game of skill, and certify different gaming formats.

-Inclusion of provisions for a “Code of Ethics” for the gaming publishers; have due diligence of online gaming platforms, including a robust greivance redressal mechanism and mandatory know-your-customer norms.

-Any online gaming platform offering real money online games to Indian users should have a legal entity incorporated under Indian law. Provide blocking powers for the government to deal with unregistered online gaming platforms.

-Have a three-tier dispute resolution mechanism, consisting of gaming platform, self-regulatory organizations of gaming platforms and an oversight committee led by an appropriate ministry.

 

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By Ajay Kumar Verma

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