Online gaming rules do not need to get into the nuances of chance or skills as wagering is barred in all forms of games irrespective of the nature of the game, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in a tweet on Thursday.
The minister of state for electronics and IT was responding to an editorial, which said that the online gaming rules avoid dealing with nuances of games of chance versus games of skill. Chandrasekhar said that wager is a well-defined expression in contract law, and decisions have clearly held the meaning of wager. “There is no need in this framework to get into “nuances” of chance or skill, bcz the harm of wagering is directly being prohibited – regardless of the nature of the game,” the minister tweeted. The Centre had last week notified norms to regulate the online gaming sector, wherein real money games involving wagering or betting have been prohibited.
“The ITRules for OnlineGaming hv been developed after extensive consultation, are quite clear n deal wth every aspect. This framework liberates startups from multiple conflicting state laws, court decisions etc n establishes clarity n growth,” Chandrasekhar said. The government has opted for a self-regulation model for the online gaming sector and will initially notify three self-regulatory organisations that will approve the games that can operate in the country as per the rules. Under the notified rules, SROs will have to publish a framework to safeguard users against the risk of gaming addiction, financial loss and financial fraud on its website.
Chandrasekhar said real money games, involving prize money, are permitted, but real money games with wagering are not. “SROs will evolve framework on how to deal wth addictive n harmful gaming as they develop capacity,” the minister said. As per the rules, the online games will be regulated by SROs, which will include the industry, gamers and other stakeholders and not the government. The SROs, as per the rules, should also include an educationist, an expert in the field of psychology or mental health, an individual who is or has been a member or officer of an organisation dealing with the protection of child rights etc. The online gaming rules have been included as an amendment in the IT Rules of 2021.
According to the rules, the online gaming self-regulatory body may declare an online real money game as a permissible online real money game if “the online real money game does not involve wagering on any outcome”. SROs will be de-notified if they don’t follow the rules. Online gaming companies see the new rules as a positive development for them as it provides the sector with clear guidelines around permissible games. “The central framework would also put a pause on the knee-jerk blanket bans by states. A more predictable environment would attract increased investments, creating jobs and a new generation of the export industry from India,” WinZO games co-founder, Saumya Singh Rathore said. States like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana have banned online games that involve real money.