An overview of “Code of Ethics for Online Gaming Industries”

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Industry bodies from the online gaming sector recently gathered during the Indian Game Developer Conference (IGDC) 2023. There, the bodies signed the Code of Ethics for Online Gaming Industries, curated by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The purpose of doing so is to take ethical practises and create a safer gaming environment.

However, the question that remains is how this will be made possible. Another question is regarding the steps that will be taken to curb/minimize the harm caused by bad actors.

To answer, the draft code mentions the primary objectives, according to MediaNama. The draft further mentions the benefit to the users through safer and responsible gaming space.

Although a lot more things will be going on to ensure the utmost safety of users, these are the most pressed-on topics that needed to be focused on to create a safer online gaming space. With that said, let’s have a look at the objectives mentioned thereunder.

1. Responsible gaming

Under the responsible gaming section, gaming companies will give the users freedom to set their gaming limits and gameplay hours that they feel comfortable spending on the platform.

The company will also monitor the player behaviour through ‘advanced tech tool’ to identify risky behavioural patterns, while also educating people about their own responsibilities while gaming online.

2. Protecting minors

The sudden rise in popularity of online gaming have caught eyes of millions of people, including the young audience under the age of 18. In order to prevent them from logging on casually and taking part in real money gaming tournaments, companies will put all necessary safeguards.

This includes a thorough verification of the identity to check if the person is over the age of 18 or not. In case a minor is able to access the platform, the company is to terminate the access as soon as it is brought to light.

3. Fair gaming

Gaming companies are supposed to be transparent with their players. Players should have knowledge of their policies as well as terms and conditions set by the platform, along with including of game mechanics and how points are distributed.

Furthermore, the games are only fun in a fair competition. This includes preventing the company to enter the competition by themselves through agency or bots. The company can also get certification for that from a third party.

Cheating at all costs should also be prevented, this includes use of third party applications or malicious codes that helps a person to gain any form of advantage. In case the players feel like they are not treated correctly, a redressal mechanism should also be in place.

4. Financial safeguards

Money laundering in the real money gaming sector is one of the major issues. In order to counter that, the companies need to set up proper KYC verification to detect any potential money laundering activity on their platform.

Payments should only be processed through recognized digital banks. Any form of payment through cash or cryptocurrency will not be allowed.

The company is also to reveal their terms to the users of their platform. This includes how much the entry fee costs, how is the price distributed, how much tax the winners have to pay, encrypting the payment channels for secure deposits and withdrawal.

5. Responsible advertising

Advertising pulls in a lot of users, however, the draft states that these advertisement campaigns should comply with the existing laws. False ads that lead to users getting false probability of winning or not providing proper information is to be avoided.

Presenting the game as an alternative, investment opportunity, means to recover losses is also strictly prohibited. Furthermore, the advertisement should not entice minors. Inclusion of warning regarding excessive gaming harm is also needed.

6. Secure and reliable gaming

Companies are to follow the up-to-date guidelines following the country’s data protection and storage laws to create a secure and reliable gaming environment. The draft says, “Online Gaming Intermediaries pledge to recognize and integrate evidence-based best practices for safer gaming and other operational aspects, and to contribute to pioneering concepts and initiatives addressing industry challenges.”