MeitY to start certifying online games if industry fails to form SROs before deadline

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) notified new online gaming rules in April this year and gave the industry three months in order to submit their proposals for forming self-regulatory organizations (SROs). More than two months have now elapsed since the notification date (April 6) and so far no SROs have been formed yet. Notably, however, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has come up with a draft model charter for an SRO till now.

Last month, MoS MeitY Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that the Centre will start certifying online games as permissible or not till the industry bodies form the SROs. He clarified the same on Friday, saying that they would step in and fulfill the obligations, as reported by The Financial Express.

According to the new online gaming rules, online gambling and betting games are prohibited while real money games will require permission from the SROs to operate. As of now, there are three SROs planned to oversee the online gaming industry and they will include people with expertise in various fields like online gaming, education, psychology and individuals dealing with protection of child rights.

Online gaming firms will have to apply to an SRO to release a game. The SRO will then evaluate the game and decide whether to permit it or not. In case of rejection, the SRO will have to provide proper reasoning.

Apart from AIGF, other SROs being formed are by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) along with E-gaming Federation (EGF). The details are yet to be made public.

Meanwhile, a key development is likely to take place for the online gaming industry this month as the GST Council is expected to decide on the GST tax rate. The top industry firms wrote to the government through the FICCI Gaming Committee on Friday not to raise the tax rate to 28%.