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Govt aware of online gambling apps, working to bring in a regulatory regime: MeitY after PMO nudge

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The central government through MeitY said it is aware of the growing number of online gambling applications in the country and is working on a possible roadmap to regulate the industry. The information came in as a response to a letter written by technology and gaming lawyer Jay Sayta. The response said government is aware of possible harms, financial losses, and addiction issues of online gambling apps.

After several months of deliberations and consultations by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce formed by the central government to look at regulating online gaming, the cabinet secretariat in  December 2022 decided on nodal ministries to regulate online gaming and esports.

According to a Gazette notification issued on 26th December 2022, amendments to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) (Three Hundred and Seventieth Amendment) Rules, 2022 were published adding “Matters relating to online gaming” under the ambit of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and “e-Sports as part of multi-sports events” under the ambit of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Subsequent to this, MeitY has notified the draft intermediary guidelines for public consultation. Citing various judicial precedents, Sayta in his letter said the proposed intermediary rules travel beyond the powers granted to MeitY. He sought re-examination of entire issue by the cabinet secretary.

The draft intermediary rules for online gaming released by MeitY On January 2, 2023, proposed a set of rules to regulate online gaming space in India. The most important rules included a self-regulatory organization (SRO), mandatory verification of players through Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and grievance redressal methods.

Consultation on draft online gaming rules concluded with parents, students, and educationists concluded in January.  The response to Sayta’s letter said that the government is aware of non-uniform laws on online gaming in the country.

Gambling and betting falls under the state list and there is little the central government can do on its own except through the regulation of online gaming sector under the Information Technology Act.

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