The Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill, 2022: A Welcome, but Insufficient Step in the Right Direction


Legislative Initiative Aimed at Boosting the Gaming Sector and Protecting the Players

The Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill, 2022 was proposed as a personal legislative initiative in the Lok Sabha on April 1 this yr by MP Adv. Dean Kuriakose from Kerala. The draft invoice is aimed toward the creation of a regulated authorized setting for gaming actions that can increase the financial sector and defend the gamers from the related dangers. Yet, authorized consultants have their concerns over how effective this piece of eventual legislation might be attaining the set targets.

In the present authorized state of affairs in India, avid gamers in search of the best online roulette casino or the most intriguing on-line fantasy league must maintain a cautious eye on the place and the way they select to play, as the authorities has not supplied a system that may be sure that solely secure gaming merchandise can be found.

Gaming companies, together with developer studios, publishers and play platforms, on the different hand, are compelled to exist in a patchy and fluctuating authorized setting and endure an unjustifiably excessive compliance burden with legal guidelines and even bans considerably various from state to state and every now and then. Legal uncertainty blocks the business’s potential for development and makes it troublesome to draw new investments.

The draft Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill makes an attempt to unravel these points by introducing a licensing regime for gaming operators and servers and by establishing an Online Gaming Commission on the nationwide degree.

Offering on-line video games or working a gaming server or web site with no license can be a cognizable and bailable offence. Gamers who play on such unlicensed platforms would even be accountable for punishment.

The Commission could have huge powers to supervise the functioning of the gaming sector, to take measures to curb unlawful gaming, and to grant, droop or revoke licences.

The gaming regulator physique, in session with the Central Government, may also elaborate guidelines for finishing up the functions of the Bill regarding licensing circumstances and costs, accounts retaining, age-based and different restrictions for gaming platform workers and gamers, the sort of notices to be displayed on gaming web sites, restrictions and circumstances for the provision of credit score services by licensees to avid gamers, and different issues.

The Bill Fails to Address a Number of Important Matters

Although the introduction of the Bill is a welcome step in the proper course, the draft fails to deal with quite a lot of essential issues wanted for the creation of a wholesome enterprise local weather for gaming companies and a secure gaming setting for the public.

For instance, the Bill makes no distinction between online casino real money video games, informal video games that characteristic actual cash parts, and fundamental free video games, in addition to between video games of ability and video games of likelihood, placing all gaming varieties beneath the identical umbrella and licensing regime.

With the exception of mentioning guidelines for notices on gaming web sites and restrictions on credit score services by operators, the Bill doesn’t present even a broad framework of gamer safety norms, leaving all into the palms of the Commission.

The clauses of the Bill stipulate nothing regarding accountable gaming insurance policies, consumer information safety, know your buyer (KYC) protocols, grievance redressals, restrictions on promoting and advertising, and different associated issues.

Moreover, no consideration is given to the authorized mechanism wanted for the Bill to have impact and the way it will relate to the constitutional provision that video games of likelihood and playing are a state matter, or to the present gaming legislations and licensing regimes in states like Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim.

Solutions Exist round the World and Need Only to Be Implemented in India

The query the best way to regulate on-line gaming and playing successfully is neither a brand new one, nor has arisen solely in India. A variety of jurisdictions round the world have labored to seek out options and have developed national or state-level regulatory frameworks over gaming

Countries like the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, quite a lot of states in the US, and lately Peru and Uruguay, have adopted gaming legislations primarily based on a regulatory authority, licensing regime, and gamer safety orientation.

Responsible gaming insurance policies are a typical trait and focus of modern-day gaming rules. Such insurance policies sometimes embody simply accessed and environment friendly self-exclusion mechanisms, obligations for operators to guard drawback gamblers, together with digital id verifications, promoting restrictions, transaction and login limits, and blacklists for each operators and avid gamers.

India can study from the established gaming regulation practices round the world, compile the greatest parts and adapt them to the native setting and cultural specifics. Integrating the nation’s distinctive Aadhaar Digital ID system in the age verification, buyer safety and self-exclusion mechanisms of the gaming regulation will make the process even simpler.

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