In a recent development to the notification issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on April 6, the central government has stated that if the bodies related to online gaming industry fail to form a self-regulatory organization (SRO), it will end up forming one of its own.
Centre’s SRO will be formed with a primary intention to manage the administration and implementation of the rules related to online gaming, given the firms do not adhere to the three-month deadline ending July 6, 2023. It has been understood that there is a lack of understanding between the gaming companies and the corresponding bodies.
The MeitY had asked the gaming companies as well as the corresponding bodies to form an SRO within 30 days to a maximum of 90 days from the date of notification. However, there seems to be no general understanding related to structure, nature of the SRO and who should be the nominated members, as reported by Economic Times.
The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) had expressed that they have been working closely with industrial partners to develop a self-regulatory body, which will be compliant to the requirements under the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2022.
“Any SRBs being formed will be through a comprehensive framework for verifying games and governing online gaming intermediaries,” said AIGF’s CEO Roland Landers.
Meanwhile, FIFS General Director Joy Bhattacharjya stated, “We are currently working with industry partners to formulate an SRB in line with the requirements under the IT Rules. We are hoping to apply to MeitY for recognition of this SRB soon.”
‘There are differences between gaming corresponding bodies’ – sources
However, a source closely related to the development explained, “There are obvious differences between AIGF (All India Gaming Federation), EGF (e-Gaming Federation) and IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India). These differences are mainly on our interest and ethics of how gaming SROs should function”.
It is further to be understood that if an SRB is being formed, it will assume powers to regulate the functioning and other related managerial duties of the gaming sector in the country.
“They (the SROs) will have all the powers. For example, they can revoke the certification of a gaming intermediary at any future date even if it has been approved to function in India earlier. There will also be measures for other punitive steps that these SROs can take,” one of the officials quoted above said.