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6 Big Questions on the Online Gaming Rules: How Has the Industry Responded?

While many industry players see the rules as a win, some others say they still leave some critical legal questions unanswered

The IT Ministry finally notified rules to regulate the online gaming sector yesterday—a policy move the industry's been requesting for years now. So, the big question is: do they do a good job of regulating India's highly complex online gaming sector? Early industry responses say they do—although others add that the rules still leave some critical legal questions unanswered. Key highlights of the online gaming rules: They have been introduced through amendments to India's platform regulation rules, the IT Rules, 2021; The industry will be regulated by self-regulatory bodies; Online gaming platforms can only host "online real money games" that have been verified by a self-regulatory body; Online gaming platforms cannot host gambling games or any online game that causes "harm". Has the government actually distinguished games of skill from gambling? At a press briefing yesterday, IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar clarified that the rules won't get into distinguishing between games of chance and skill. They instead introduce and legitimize new categories of online games, like online real money games, where "a user makes a deposit in cash or kind with the expectation of earning winnings on that deposit". “These rules don't deal with all the sophistication into what is game of chance or game of skill...We are bypassing that and laying out a basic principle that the moment an online game trespasses into involving betting and wagering, regardless of its core content, then it falls afoul of these rules." — Rajeev Chandrasekhar A quick recap: Games of skill predominantly require…

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