The Indian government is preparing a national framework to operate gaming platforms in the country with an aim to ensure that such platforms are regulated without hampering the segment’s growth momentum.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) reportedly held a meeting with nearly 40 online gaming platforms on Tuesday to discuss the national framework.
As per reports, gaming platforms like Galactus Funware Technology (which owns Mobile Premier League) Sporta Technologies (which owns Dream11), and Nazara Technologies attended the meeting. The All India Gaming Federation – a gaming representative trade body – also participated in the meeting, which was presided over by the Minister of State for Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
Chandrasekhar said in a tweet after the meeting that the government is committed to ensuring that the startups have the necessary policy framework to be innovators and world leaders. He added that the focus of the meeting was to find out on how the government can help online gaming companies to grow, expand and innovate.
Gaming platforms raised concerns at the meeting about various regulations currently in place or being proposed by certain Indian states. Many prominent gaming platforms urged the government to create a central regulatory framework that would be stable and predictable.
The companies discussed the Rajasthan government’s draft Rajasthan Virtual Online Sports (Regulation) Bill 2022 along with other state government legislation and drafts for the same. The Rajasthan government drafted the legislation to regulate online gaming, but has not made a distinction between esports and fantasy gaming, which the industry said could be detrimental to both segments within the larger gaming industry.
The online gaming industry has been seeking a ‘code’ for online gaming platforms and had written to the IT ministry last year asking for one.
“One of the major concerns raised in the meeting was the debate on skill versus chance. Most gaming platforms said there were no uniform regulations or regulatory bodies which could decide on the issue. They also requested for changes to be made to the Gambling Act so that there is a clear interpretation of the law,” a senior government official was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.
Another official told the publication that the government intends to support and facilitate the growth and expansion of all gaming platforms while also effectively regulating them. “However, the regulations should not impede their growth.”
The move comes at a time when online gaming platforms have seen significant growth in the last two years.
The government recently set up a committee to regulate online gaming. The panel includes the chief executive officer of government think tank NITI Aayog and secretaries of the ministries of home, sports and youth affairs, information and broadcasting, electronics and information technology.
The newly formed committee has been mandated to study global best practices and recommend a regime for a uniform regulatory mechanism, as per a report by the Hindustan Times.