Online gaming companies seek clarification on amended rules during meeting with MeitY

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) held a meeting on Friday, April 7 with the gaming sector stakeholders headed by Minister of State for MeitY, Rajeev Chandrasekhar at Electronics Niketan in New Delhi.

The meeting included representatives from Dream11, Nazara Technologies, InMobi, Gameskraft, WinZo Games, Mobile Premier League (MPL). Industry bodies like Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), along with E-gaming Federation (EGF) and All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) were also present in the meeting.

During the meeting, many gaming companies also sought clarification on different state laws regarding online gaming and gambling, along with definition. They also asked the for plans in case any state government refuses to abide by the amendments for the online gaming rules.

“We now have guidelines for online gaming. However, in all probability, different states can still interpret gambling and wagering as per their own definitions of the act,” said chief executive officer of JetSynthesys, Rajan Navani.

A senior official who was present at the meeting told Economic Times, “The rules are self-explanatory. We have heard their concerns and will issue any clarifications as needed.”

While many of the gaming industry leaders and legal experts lauded the new rules by MeitY, many of them believes that the ministry should have set out the regulations more clearly.

Abhishek, A Rastogi from law firm Rastogi Chambers, said, “Gambling and betting are state subjects under the Constitution. It will be interesting to see whether any state would deviate in its territorial jurisdiction.”

“These are early days and the ambiguity in this space will certainly be entangled over a period of time through pragmatic amendments,” he further added.

Further, clarification regarding the updated know-your-customer (KYC) for all real money gaming was also brought up, along with queries regarding SROs and whether the move for having multiple SROs is for each gaming genre having their own regulators.

Ministry officials also clarified again on what was allowed and what was not. A person aware of the situation said, “The only things that are not permissible are real-money games where the person is betting on a third-party outcome. We were asked to talk to the states and explain our stand. They (IT ministry officials) told us that they would step in if there were gaps and if states sought more clarification and assurance on the subject.”

The government currently plans to start with three SROs and will add more depending on workload and industry demand. In order to remain registered as self-regulatory organizations, these SROs must adhere to the broad functioning principles set forth by the IT ministry.