Online gaming rules: 6 months on, no SRB approved by MeiTY leading to ambiguity

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The central government has notified the rules governing the online games in April 2023. However, even after a lapse of six months, the rules are yet to be fully implemented as the government has not registered any self regulatory bodies (SRBs). Online gaming operators have been permitted to offer only those ‘online real money games’ which are verified by SRBs. 

SRBs headed by jurists or experts from the field will oversee and ensure the alignment and adherence of the rules by the gaming  platforms. The rules require SRBs to be  registered with MeitY before they start discharging functions.

But with SRBs not registered yet, there is a lacunae leading to legality of the games currently offered by the online gaming operators.

With industry bodies AIGR Foundation, EGF, Bharat Online Gaming Federation (backed by AIGF), EPWA having applied for registration, there has been no update yet from the ministry. Earlier, MeitY informed the industry that it would require atleast 3 months to certify SRBs.

This ambiguity comes in at a time Cricket World Cup is fast approaching and illegal offshore betting portals are making a comeback to benefit from the busy cricket season.

In May, Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar has announced that the government will be certifying which online games are permissible until the SRBs are established. However, no further information has been provided in this regard.

Games verified by SRBs need to have a verification mark that should be clearly displayed on their website or mobile application. Drafts charters examined by G2G state persons from the member online gaming firms are restricted to play against other players to maintain game integrity.

EGF-FIFS SRB as per reports laid down 7 tests based on which games which apply for certification with us will be adjudged if they are a game of skill or chance. All games which apply for certification will have to pass six of these to get a provisional certification to operate in India. The games will then get up to 3 more months to get the seventh certification, following which they can apply for the final certificate.

Each SRB will have its own rules but will have to necessarily be approved by the Ministry before getting operational.

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