India has outlined legislation that will regulate online gaming for the first time. The state authorities are seeking to address rising addiction-related complaints in this field that falls between gambling and entertainment and resolve growing complaints of addiction among minors.
The Information Technology Ministry has published the rules proposed to govern apps or websites, such as online casinos, card games, and fantasy sports clubs, where users are requested to make deposits to be allowed to play. Such a practice of these online hubs is different from popular, competitive gaming titles such as Electronic Arts’ FIFA Soccer, and the ministry is now seeking ways to regulate them.
A growing number of users:
The expansion of online gaming has coincided with the explosive growth of the number of mobile devices used by the Indian population. At the same time, it has led to the creation of multiple online playing clubs where people with similar playing preferences congregate. Such in-crowds, for example, gather around popular platforms like Dream 11 Inc. and Mobile Premier League.
These companies have a proven record of responsible gaming with Dream 11 Inc’s operations being rated 4.7 out of 5 points by almost three million users.
More titles requesting deposits:
But consumers have complained about the growing number of iGaming titles requesting deposits, even from minors, in exchange for financial gain. Consumers have also claimed that such titles are inciting gambling addiction. At the same time, these websites are often insecure and difficult to track therefore the online regulation proposed by the Indian competent ministry may help promote responsible gaming and protect players, and especially youngsters, from fraud and gambling addiction.
A growing risk of gambling addictions:
Gaming addiction has been recognized by World Health Organization as a mental condition inducing long-term consequences. As the Indian population count has arrived at around 1.39 billion with the constant rise in the number of mobile devices, the Ministry will get involved in the online gaming sector for the first time now. IT Ministry released draft rules on Monday anticipating online gaming companies to form a regulatory entity registered with the Ministry.
IT Ministry’s proposed regulation:
Under these rules, the self-regulatory entity’s board will include a federal government representative with experience in public policy, law enforcement, public administration, or public finance. The companies will also have a chief compliance officer who will be responsible to ensure law enforcement and, as proposed by the Ministry, will monitor the implementation of companies’ measures and identity and age verification procedures for bettors.
The rules have been presented to the public and remain open for suggestions and revisions that will help regulate the market and avoid abuse and prevent excessive gambling, particularly among minors.