Chase India released a paper highlighting the need for ‘unified’ framework for the online skill games ecosystem. A clear and sound national regulatory framework for skill-based online gaming will protect children, consumers, ensure the growth of the ‘sunrise’ sector while keeping at bay the illegal actors operating from overseas in the space.
At present different states have interpreted laws on gaming differently causing confusion for legitimate players while unwittingly allowing illegal offshore players with no accountability in the country to operate with abandon.
The policy paper examines the issues relating to online skill gaming and proposes the way forward. Based on the issues faced by users, industry, and other stakeholders, the policy paper recommends reforms in the existing regulatory framework to ensure that the growth of the industry is balanced with protective measures to ensure that consumers particularly children are not harmed, and unscrupulous players are weeded out.
The following framework of regulation can ensure growth of the ecosystem and protection of users of online skill gaming platform:
- Games of skill should be clearly defined in the proposed regulatory framework.
- Build a robust self-regulatory mechanism that sets high standards of ethics for the industry while maintaining their operational efficiencies.
- A grievance redressal mechanism on the lines of OTT platforms regulatory framework should be prescribed in the gaming industry.
- Provisions to ensure protection of children should be in built into the system, such that their access to age-inappropriate content can be blocked.
- The regulations should ensure reasonable security and privacy of the users and the platforms.
- Through this light touch regulation financial protection of the users should be ensured.
- The regulatory framework should be able to tackle the menace of offshore gaming sites systematically operating in India.
The policy paper recommends that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 may be amended to include specific provisions for online game of skill intermediaries. The proposed reforms will address the urgent need to protect players and online games of skill ecosystem.
The policy paper urges the nodal ministry, Ministry of Electronics, and Information Technology to initiate the process of inclusion of guidelines for online games of skill intermediaries with administrative support from the concerned line Ministry.