States not allowed to regulate online gaming: MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Published on:

Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Mr. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, on Friday, July 7, came forward to repeat that while the state governments hold the authority to regulate gambling within its jurisdiction, they cannot regulate online gaming and matters related thereunder.

A Noida-based NGO, Social Organization for Creating Humanity (SOCH), recently moved to the Delhi High Court challenging the validity of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023. These rules were recently released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and also governed the online gaming industry.

SOCH filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court and stated that regulation of online gaming is not under the legislative competence of central government. However, Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s statement quashed the NGO’s argument, as it clearly ruled out that states can only regulate gambling-related operations.

“I know Tamil Nadu has come up with a law but it makes no sense to me that a State government will try and regulate a participant on the internet,” Chandrasekhar said in a press conference as per The Economic Times.

Speaking further on the scope of online gaming regulation, he added, “It is not possible. The online gaming rules that have been notified after almost three months of consultation basically say what types of online games are allowed on the Indian internet.”

Regulating online gaming and gambling is the need of the hour, says Chandrasekhar

Additionally, Rajeev Chandrasekhar also spoke on the need of imposing strict regulations on online gaming as well as gambling, as it is growing in popularity, especially among the youth. He further expressed that setting up a self-regulatory body (SRB) will surely help in ensuring safety and security of gamers as well as gaming companies.

“We’ll study it. We’ll see. It is a big, bold experiment we are taking which is allowing an SRB outside the government to regulate a very critical area like online gaming. It is a very sensitive area because it has got addiction, user harm, betting/wagering, illegality… Therefore, it is something that we are going to slowly and carefully get into,” he said.

Notably, MeitY recently said that it will likely come up with the formation of the SRB in at least three months, with joint efforts from industry bodies like All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), and E-Gaming Federation (EGF).