Online gaming companies write to Meity against IAMAI’s statement on draft rules

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Four of the biggest gaming companies – Dream Sports, Mobile Premier League (MPL), Zupee and Games24x7 – wrote to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on February 3 disassociating themselves from the Internet and Mobile Association of India’s (IAMAI) recent statement on the draft online gaming rules which the latter believes are ‘right on intent but poor on scoping’.

All the above companies are a part of the IAMAI and according to them IAMAI’s statement does not reflect their viewpoint and they were not consulted before the association made the statement. According to The Economic Times which has seen the note, the companies disagree with IAMAI’s statements and have voiced “a strong objection” regarding it.

The note said, “While we are members of the IAMAI Gaming Committee, we would like to clarify that we do not agree with the primary assertion made in the release. We have made certain recommendations for your consideration through our specialized gaming industry bodies and look forward to engaging in consultation with you on the same.”

The note also mentioned that “the release by IAMAI was made without consulting us or providing us any information.”

The aforementioned large gaming companies are also a part of other industry bodies like the E-Gaming Federation, All India Gaming Federation and/or Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports, all of whom are in support of the draft online gaming rules.

“We also believe that measures introduced to curb the menace of offshore illegal gambling apps and websites is a very welcome step and will go a long way in providing a safe and trusted internet to our gaming users,” the note further added.

According to the statement from IAMAI, it believes that the definition of online gaming is too broad and vague and would unnecessarily subject a number of businesses to regulation and costly compliance which is either lightly needed or not needed at all.

IAMAI has previously claimed that the industry body is perfect to form a self-regulatory organization (SRO) for the online gaming sector but MeitY rejected the idea announcing that no industry body will be allowed to form SRO.

Initially, WinZo was against setting up of SROs. However, in its recent representation which was made separately and not through IAMAI, the company has said, “Our concerns with the constitution of SROs (or SRBs) for regulation of the online gaming industry, primarily stem from the inherent biases, conflicts of interest, between the SROs’ regulatory functions and its members, market operations, issuers, and shareholders, in as much as it was envisaged that an SRO, apart from having certain neutral members, would also necessarily consist of industry players.”

“However, the draft rules allow for the possibility of multiple SROs and hence the initial apprehension has been allayed,” they added.