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Online Gaming Industry’s Initiative for Stability in India

Context:

The online gaming industry has taken a significant step toward self-regulation by voluntarily adopting a code of ethics. This initiative aims to establish a more stable and responsible environment within the industry. The Government of India has designated the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to oversee online gaming matters, emphasizing the need for organized governance in this rapidly growing sector.

Relevance:

GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Code of Ethics for the Gaming Industry: Voluntary Initiatives
  2. Understanding Online Gaming: Regulations and the Code
  3. Code Alignment with Government Regulations:

Code of Ethics for the Gaming Industry: Voluntary Initiatives

  • Initiating Self-Governance: The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), E-Gaming Federation (EGF), and All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) have collaboratively adopted a voluntary code of ethics to self-regulate the online gaming industry.
  • Non-Binding Commitment: The code of ethics, although non-binding, reflects a commitment to fostering responsible practices within the gaming sector, addressing concerns related to transparency and user protection.
  • Empowering Consumers: Aimed at safeguarding consumer interests, the code emphasizes empowering users with information to make informed decisions regarding their online gaming choices.
  • KYC Procedures: Online gaming companies are mandated to implement know-your-customer (KYC) procedures in compliance with relevant laws, ensuring a secure and accountable gaming environment.
  • Transparency and Fairness: The code emphasizes transparency by requiring companies to disclose criteria for determining winners, applicable fees, and ensuring that deposited funds are solely used for playing games on the platform.
  • Promoting Responsible Gaming: With a focus on creating a “healthy environment” for online gaming in India, the code encourages responsible gaming practices, underscoring transparency, fairness, and user protection.

Understanding Online Gaming: Regulations and the Code

  • Online Gaming Defined: Online gaming refers to playing games over the internet, enabling players to connect and collaborate regardless of physical locations, accessible on various devices such as computers and mobile phones.
  • Distinguishing Gambling and Online Gaming: Gambling involves placing bets on uncertain outcomes to win money or possessions, posing a risk of loss. In India, games of skill are distinguished from games of chance, and the Supreme Court considers competitions substantially involving skills as not falling under gambling.

Code Alignment with Government Regulations:

  • Public Gambling Act, 1867: While primarily addressing physical gambling, this act extends its relevance to online gaming, providing a legal framework for regulation.
  • Information Technology Act, 2000: Sections 66, 67, 67A, and 67B empower authorities to formulate laws regarding online gaming, recognizing the need for discretion in regulating chance-based activities. This aligns with the constitutional division, placing gambling under state jurisdiction.
  • Self-Regulatory Bodies: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology permits the establishment of self-regulatory bodies within the online gaming industry, emphasizing industry self-governance.
  • Inter-Ministerial Task Force Recommendations: Proactively addressing the sector, the government’s recommendations from the inter-ministerial task force contribute to formulating rules for online gaming, emphasizing a balanced approach between industry growth and consumer protection.

-Source: Indian Express


 

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