Advocacy group calls for changes to IT regulations to reform children’s online gaming

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A political advocacy group has been seeking a regulatory framework for online skill-based gaming to protect children and weed out unscrupulous offshore gamers. Chase India has published a paper emphasizing the need for a “single” framework for the online skill-based gaming ecosystem.

“A clear and robust national regulatory framework for online skill-based gaming will protect children and consumers, ensure the growth of the ‘Sunrise’ sector, while keeping illegal actors operating in space from overseas at bay,” the group said in the newspaper .

Currently, different states have interpreted gambling laws differently, causing confusion among legitimate gamblers and unwittingly allowing illegal offshore gamblers to operate with abandon without accountability in the country, it said.

The strategy paper examined the problems related to online games of skill and suggested the way forward.

Based on the issues faced by users, industry and other stakeholders, the strategy paper recommended reforms to the existing regulatory framework to ensure industry growth is offset by safeguards to avoid harming consumers, especially children, and weeding out unscrupulous actors .

The paper said the regulatory framework can ensure the growth of the ecosystem and the protection of users of the online skill gaming platform.

The paper recommended that games of skill should be clearly defined in the proposed regulatory framework and a robust self-regulatory mechanism established that sets high ethical standards for the industry while maintaining its operational efficiencies.

A grievance mechanism modeled on the regulatory framework for OTT platforms should be mandated in the gaming industry, it said.

The provisions to protect children should be built into the system so that their access to inappropriate content can be blocked, and the regulations should ensure adequate security and privacy of users and platforms, it said.

The policy paper recommended that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 could be amended to include specific provisions for online skill gaming intermediaries.

The proposed reforms will address the urgent need to protect players and the ecosystem of online skill games.

The policy paper asked the node ministry, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, to initiate the process of adopting guidelines for online games by skill trainers with administrative support from the ministry concerned.

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