Online Gaming Rules: Gaming rules to control unwarranted negative impact on children: IT ministry

The purpose of amending the Information Technology Rules of 2021 to introduce a framework for online gaming is to control “the unabated and unwarranted negative impact of online gaming activities on users, especially children and other vulnerable sections of society”, the government said on Thursday.

In a press notification, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that the new rules on permissible online games will ensure that online games or sites that involve wagering will be banned completely including advertising or any time of presence.

“Additionally, in case of any other non-real money online game that has the potential to cause user harm or affect the security of India, the central Government has the power to require such online games to be subject to the obligations under the rules as are applicable to online real money games,” the IT ministry said.

In the rules for permissible online games released earlier this month by the IT ministry, the gaming intermediaries have been allowed to form self-regulatory organisations consisting of industry representatives and experts will have the power to decide which games can be offered to users.

The government had then, however, cautioned that it would not allow wagering or betting of any kind, nor permit games that cause harm to consumers.

On Thursday, the IT ministry said that such self-regulatory bodies will include safeguards which have measures to ensure that real money games are not against the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State and its friendly relations with foreign states.

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Further, the SROs should also have measures to protect users from self-harm, including psychological harm, and have safeguards for children “through parental controls and age-rating mechanism”. These SROs should also “safeguard users against the risk of gaming addiction, financial loss and fraud through measures such as repeated warning messages at higher frequency in long gaming session and provision to enable a user to exclude himself upon user-defined limits being reached for time or money spent”, the ministry said.

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