India: MeitY Releases Draft Amendments to the IT (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 in Relation to Online Gaming

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology released draft amendments to the IT intermediary rules 2021, pertaining to Online Gaming for public consultations.

The draft has been prepared to ensure that online games should be offered in conformity with Indian laws and that the users of such games be safeguarded against potential harm.

On December 26, the Government through a gazette notification, notified change in Allocation of Business rules designating Meity as the nodal ministry for online gaming related concerns. On January 2, the Ministry released the draft rules for public consultation.

Briefing reporters on the proposed draft, Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar affirmed that “The rules are simple – we would like the online gaming ecosystem to expand & grow and be an important catalyst to India’s One trillion dollar Digital economy goal by 2025-26. We also envision a bigger role for startups in the online gaming industry.”

The Minister said that the Ministry had moved swiftly in framing of the policy and this was possible due to a series of meetings/consultations conducted by MeiTY with stakeholders prior to drafting the policy. He added that the Ministry would be holding another set of public consultations to finalise the policy soon.

He said the draft has proposed a self-regulatory mechanism which, in future, may also regulate the content of online gaming and ensure that the games do not have violent, addictive or sexual content.

Speaking on the safety concerns, the Minister said around 40-45% of the gamers in India are women, and therefore it was all more important to keep the gaming ecosystem safe.

He said the draft rules have strict provisions against betting and wagering. The online games that allow wagering on the outcome are effectively a no-go area, he stressed.

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