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New rules for online gaming in India - What you need to know

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India’s government lays out rules for online gambling and what players can expect regarding safeguards, KYC and more.

It's safe to say that online gambling in India is still in its infantile stages, with many having questions about how certain aspects of the laws and regulations should be handled.

New draft rules were released on the 2nd of January 2023 by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY). The new rules answer many questions while also raising others once more.

The rules were released by MEITY Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar, with the main purpose to set up a self-regulatory body to deal with possible issues and KYC rules. It also covered what defines an ‘online game’ and how it should be handled.

Online gambling in India

As the Indian gambling industry attempts to find its feet, it’s only natural that there are many issues that would need to be met head-on. It's for this reason that rules such as those released in this new draft are integral to establishing a way forward for the industry as a whole.

“Online gaming is an important piece of the innovation and startup ecosystem that we are seeing develop around the world,” said Chandrasekhar during a recent press release.

“Online game betting and online game advertisements have been brought into the rules as a prohibition. The self-regulatory body that has been designed and built into the rules will be responsible for determining and certifying what is the permitted online gaming intermediary on the internet.”

While the newly proposed rules answer many questions, there is still much to be decided about betting and gambling in India. This is why the government wants to have extensive consultations with stakeholders, startups and players to establish a much-needed think tank regarding regulations.

Changes on the cards?

While it was always assumed that gaming and online gambling fell to the states to regulate, in Chandrasekhar's press conference where he handed over the new draft rules, he mentioned that “everything internet comes under MEITY”, leaving many to wonder what that would mean for the future.

Some have proposed that online gaming should remain under the control of the states, while others have argued that it should shift to the Union government. This still remains a mystery, as Chandrasekhar said:

“The states can do whatever they want to do vis-a-vis gambling and betting. Our job and duty are to regulate the internet and to prescribe rules for the safe and trusted functioning of the internet.”

It remains to be seen what this will mean for the future of India’s gambling regulations.

Games, KYC, and self-regulatory boards

One of the most important issues was what could be defined as a game of skill and a game of chance under India’s laws. Unfortunately, the new draft rules do not provide any clarity on this point.

However, as the laws regulate betting, online games have been defined as any game that is played via the internet that requires a deposit “with the expectation of earning winnings”. This definition also means that should the government require such, they can add almost any online game under that umbrella term.

The rules have also proposed that rather than a government regulator, self-regulatory boards should be established. These boards would consist of at least one independent eminent person in the online gambling or entertainment field, one person to represent online players, a psychology expert and a public policy expert. The final expert would be nominated by the government.

It would be up to these self-regulatory bodies to create frameworks for rules, safeguard at-risk people, prevent financial crimes, and ensure that KYC policies are in place.

A consultation for possible amendments to the new rules that have been proposed will start on the 17th of January 2023.

Published: January 9, 2023

Anything incorrect or missing?

Article by Stelly

CasinoWow Contributor

Hey there! I am Stelly, and happily, I'm part of CasinoWow's content team. It excites me to be able to write and share with all gambling enthusiasts unbiased reviews and news that contribute to the gambling community and industry. Thankfully, I also have the chance to help you make an informed choice for casino brands and games, as well as provide interesting guides and news.

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