Tuesday, June 18, 2024

IT Ministry regulates ‘real money gaming’ platforms, I&B Ministry warns against betting ads

In June and October 2022, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued advisories against betting and gambling advertisements. File

In June and October 2022, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry issued advisories against betting and gambling advertisements. File
| Photo Credit: Reuters

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on Thursday released an amendment to the IT Rules, 2021, to regulate “online real money games” where users have to risk money to play, while the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting issued a fresh advisory warning media entities, platforms and online intermediaries against airing advertisements of betting and gambling platforms.

In the new advisory, the I&B Ministry took strong exception to the recent instances of mainstream English and Hindi newspapers carrying advertisements and promotional content of betting websites. The government would be constrained to take appropriate legal action against any non-compliance, it said.

“The advisory has been issued to all media formats, including newspapers, television channels, and online news publishers, and showed specific examples where such advertisements have appeared in the media in recent times,” the Ministry said, objecting to the promotion by a specific betting platform that encouraged the audience to watch a sports league on its website in prima facie violation of the Copyright Act.

This follows other advisories that the I&B Ministry has previously issued on the subject.

Real money gaming

MeitY’s Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023 require real money gaming platforms to register with a self-regulatory body (SRB) that will determine whether or not the game is “permissible”. Three SRBs will be recognized soon, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“There will now be more government oversight over how SRBs function,” Shambhavi Ravishankar, a consultant at Ikigai Law told The Hindu. “Most of the requirements in the rules have already been part of the responsible gaming best practices followed by the industry.”

Editorial | Gaming and gambling: On the Centre’s move to regulate online gaming

If these games are not deemed “permissible,” Mr. Chandrasekhar said, they will not get the protection of the amendment, and States may be able to take action against them for being betting or gambling platforms. As such, games that are deemed permissible will be allowed to operate legally, even if they involve deposits against an expectation of winnings.

Video games where money is not involved need not approach an SRB, Mr. Chandrasekhar clarified, putting to rest a concern the traditional gaming industry had around the draft version of the Rules..

Pivotal moment

The real money gaming industry welcomed the amendment. Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) Director-General Joy Bhattacharjya called the Rules a “pivotal moment” for the industry. “We look forward to engaging with MeitY to seek requisite clarifications as our members initiate the compliance process,” he said.

“Real money games which are verified by SRBs and therefore permissible under the IT rules should be outside the scope of [the I&B Ministry’s] advisory,” Ms. Ravishankar said.

#Ministry #regulates #real #money #gaming #platforms #Ministry #warns #betting #ads

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles