MEITY to soon publish draft rules on online gaming intermediaries, start public consultations

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Minister of State in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Twitter today said that the ministry will soon publish the draft rules concerning online gaming intermediaries and start public consultations. The minister said the regulations will ensure no illegal content or services can be undertaken.

The minister was responding to a tweet by FIFS welcoming the central government’s decision to appoint MEITY as nodal ministry for online gaming.  On 26th December, 2022, government notified MEITY as nodal ministry for “Matters relating to online gaming,” while “e-Sports as part of multi-sports events” is included in the ambit of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

There had been a growing demand for having a nodal ministry for online gaming  to address the industry concerns which is so far unregulated. States in recent times enacted laws to completely prohibit gaming for stakes leading to legal challenges in courts. The sector has seen a drastic rise in number of players and revenue after the pandemic.

While the inclusion of eSports in multi-sports events like Asian Games led to the demand that they be included in the curriculum of multi-discipline events.

Since the May – June of this year, MEITY has been coordinating with the various stakeholders in the online gaming industry. Rajeev Chandrasekhar chaired these meeting to discuss possible regulations for the sector.

Earlier, we reported that the guidelines will be added to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, in order to address issues surrounding user safety and financial harm from real-money games. A person with knowledge of the matter said, the ministry may also recommend the creation of a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) for the online gaming industry.

According to a report by the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), the country’s online real-money gaming business, which is currently valued at $2.2 billion, is expected to grow to $7 billion by FY26.