Shortcomings of Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill 

The Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill, 2022, which was launched within the Lok Sabha on 1 April 2022, goals at preserving integrity in on-line gaming and introducing a regulatory regime for on-line gaming, as has been talked about within the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill. According to, the market worth of the gaming business in India was practically a billion US {dollars}, however may go as much as $ 3.4 billion by 2024—as a result of of the youthful inhabitants of the nation.  

The Bill brings beneath its ambit all varieties of on-line gaming irrespective of whether or not it’s a recreation of talent or probability. It seeks to ascertain a ‘watch-dog’, an Online Gaming Commission (Commission), to be constituted by the Central Government, with powers to supervise the functioning of on-line gaming web sites and take measures to curb unlawful on-line gaming.  

Further, the Bill envisages a licensing regime and empowers the Commission to grant, droop and revoke licenses for on-line gaming web sites. It additionally bars any entity from working a web based gaming server or a web based gaming web site with out a licence—doing so could be a punishable offence. However, the Bill excludes individuals offering backend providers in India, together with internet hosting and maintenances providers, for any worldwide gaming web site primarily based outdoors India. 

Additionally, the Commission would have the ability to formulate guidelines referring to licensing, method of holding accounts, individuals who could also be permitted to play on-line video games, organisation or exhibition of on-line video games, circumstances for admissions of members and the charges to be charged, notices to be placed on the net gaming web site and circumstances relating to offering credit score services by a licencee to gamers of on-line video games, regulation of participation by proxy in on-line video games, and so forth. 

Lately, varied courts in India have nudged the State governments to look into the legislative void round on-line gaming within the state particular legislations. The Bill seeks to place in place varied checks and balances by delegating regulatory powers to the Commission.  

However, the Bill could also be extremely regressive because it fails to attract a distinction between informal gaming and actual cash gaming platforms. The want of the hour is to have a regulatory framework for actual cash gaming and never informal gaming, which is already ruled by varied different legislations. 

Further, the Bill doesn’t draw from the licensing regime at the moment in place for actual cash video games in sure legal guidelines handed by just a few North-Eastern states of India. 

The Bill seeks to ascertain a centralised company by the Central Government which might have powers to control on-line gaming. However, the Bill, if handed, could face authorized hurdles as playing has been a ‘state-subject’ and the Bill vests the regulatory powers to an company to be created by the Central Government, i.e., the Commission. 

The Bill additionally fails to deal with sure impending points like Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, buyer grievance mechanisms, information safety of the customers and different societal points. 

An analogous invoice known as “The Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018” was earlier launched as a non-public members invoice by Dr Shashi Tharoor within the Lok Sabha, in December 2018, which was extra strong and a barely extra complete draft overlaying inside its ambit sports activities fraud and betting, too. However, the Sports Bill lapsed with the dissolution of Parliament, previous to basic elections in 2019 and was not reintroduced thereafter. 

A sturdy regulatory and authorized atmosphere, devoid of uncertainties, is the necessity of the hour for this dawn business to attain its true potential and be certain that the enterprise can scale shortly. 

In its present kind, the Bill seems to be shaky. Notwithstanding the “suspect” constitutionality of the Bill, contemplating playing being a state-subject, it stays to be seen whether or not there’s sufficient political will to take this Bill ahead. 

(The authors are attorneys with Khaitan & Co, regulation agency) 

Published on

April 17, 2022

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