The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in a statement released today has said that the draft IT Rules on online gaming are right on intention, but poor on scoping.

The proposed Rules are a very positive development for the online gaming industry ecosystem for three reasons:

  • They would create a legal framework for orderly and accelerated development of the industry.
  • Provide for very strong consumer safety measures and, most importantly,
  • Allow the industry to be self-regulated. These measures by bringing in recognition and regulatory certainty will allow for innovations and investments in the industry.

However, IAMAI members have also pointed out in a submission to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) that the scoping of the rules has been done poorly and the following aspects need a major re-look.

A) Definition of gaming and what is sought to be regulated. Here the members of the association feel that the definition of online gaming is too broad and vague and would unnecessarily bring under regulation and expensive compliance a set of firms that do not need to be regulated or need to be very lightly regulated.

B) Certain provisions of the draft also seem to imply that service providers or partners that advertise, publish or host online games will have to comply with the Rules by verifying each game with the self-regulatory body (SRB) on an ongoing basis making it impractical. Intermediaries must not be obligated to ascertain and verify the registration of online games. 

C) Most importantly, the scoping of the SRB is not strong enough: the industry has asked for a retired Judge since ultimately the role of the SRB would be adjudication and the industry has asked for common principles by which gaming SRBs are governed.