New Delhi: Industry leaders on Tuesday hailed the government’s decision to appoint the IT Ministry as the nodal agency for online gaming-related matters.
In a notification, the Centre said that matters related to online gaming will now be taken care of by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
An inter-ministerial task force, set up by the MeitY to regulate online gaming, had in October proposed the creation of a central regulatory body for the sector, clearly defining what games of skill and chance are.
“A uniform central regulation for online skill gaming has been a long-standing demand of the industry and this step will hopefully lead to a progressive regulatory framework underpinned by consumer welfare,” said Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation (AIGF).
Joy Bhattacharjya, Director General of the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) said that the appointment of MeitY as the central regulatory authority will provide clarity and certainty to investors, industry, and consumers.
“The decision is in line with the government’s initiative to push for the growth of the animation, visual effects, gaming and comic (AVGC) sector making India a global hub for online gaming.
“We are sure that the online gaming industry will grow responsibly under MeitY’s guidance and the industry is looking forward to working with MeitY in creating a well-balanced regulatory framework,” Bhattacharjya added.
The industry also welcomed the Centre’s move to have the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) regulate esports as part of multi-sports events.
“This will finally lead to the recognition of an India Esports Federation, better rules and procedures for the selection of India teams for international events like Asian Games and also lead to better opportunities and facilities for our esports players on par with other sportspersons,” said Landers.
The Indian mobile gaming industry’s revenue is predicted to exceed $1.5 billion in 2022 and reach $5 billion by 2025.
Earlier this month, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, said that rules on the regulation of online gaming were in place.
“These rules cast a specific obligation on intermediaries, including intermediaries offering online games, to observe diligence and provide that if they fail to observe such diligence, they shall no longer be exempt from their liability under law for third-party information or data or communication link hosted by them,” the reply had said.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi this month did not give assent to the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gaming and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022.
The contentious gaming bill has been silent on how to control the menace of foreign betting and gambling operators, while seeking to ban legitimate Indian gaming platforms, according to industry sources.