Chase India has published an article highlighting the need for a “unified” framework for the online skill game ecosystem. A clear and strong national regulatory framework for skill-based online games will protect children, consumers, ensure the growth of the sunrise sector while keeping illegal actors operating from overseas in space at bay.
Currently, different states have interpreted gambling laws differently, confusing legitimate gamblers while unwittingly allowing illegal offshore gamblers with no liability in the country to operate with abandon.
The guidance document examines the issues surrounding online games of skill and proposes the way forward. Based on issues faced by users, industry and other stakeholders, the guidance document recommends reforms to the existing regulatory framework to ensure industry growth is balanced with safeguards to ensure that consumers, especially children, are not harmed, and unscrupulous actors are eliminated.
The following regulatory framework can ensure the growth of the ecosystem and the protection of users of the online skill game platform:
- Games of skill should be clearly defined in the proposed regulatory framework.
- Build a robust self-regulatory mechanism that sets high ethical standards for the industry while maintaining operational efficiency.
- A grievance mechanism modeled on the OTT platform regulatory framework should be prescribed in the gaming industry.
- Provisions to ensure the protection of children should be built into the system, so that their access to age-inappropriate content can be blocked.
- Regulations should ensure reasonable security and privacy of users and platforms.
- Thanks to this light regulation, the financial protection of users should be ensured.
- The regulatory framework should be able to tackle the threat of offshore gambling sites routinely operating in India.
The guidance document recommends that the 2021 Information Technology Rules (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Code of Ethics) be amended to include specific provisions for game of skill intermediaries on line. The proposed reforms will address the urgent need to protect players and the ecosystem of online skill games.
The guidance document urges the nodal ministry, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, to initiate the process of including guidelines for online games of skill intermediaries with the administrative support of the line ministry concerned.