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IT ministry looking to regulate online gaming for children

According to a report in the Economic Times (ET), the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) may include new regulations to restrict the amount of time kids can spend using a gaming app in the impending Digital India Act. The ministry claims that this is being done to curb India’s gaming addiction.

According to the report, the new restrictions may force gaming businesses to put in place safeguards that bar players under the age of 18 from making in-game transactions.

“Game addiction must be addressed; whether we do it in part through the IT Rules and in part through the DIA (Digital India Act), it must be done. We are dealing with problems that require incredibly novel, creative solutions ” senior government representative told ET.

To determine how the guidelines should be written and what should be included, the government will confer with gaming firms, parents, and school associations.

A cell phone’s usage disclosure could be one approach to track how long a child spends playing a game in a given session, according to the official.

The proposed gaming regulations that the IT ministry presented on Monday included a self-regulatory structure and a grievance redressal system. Additionally, it suggested requiring gamers to be verified using KYC norms.

According to the premise outlined in the proposed guidelines, online gaming organisations would not be permitted to place bets on the results of games, according to Chandrasekhar.

“Betting on the result of the game will not be permitted in accordance with the guidelines established by the rule. All online gaming businesses will need to register with the self-regulatory organisation, which will determine what steps need to be followed in accordance with the regulations.

It is against the law to wager on a game’s outcome. The self-regulatory organisations will create the filters and tests required to determine what constitutes lawful gaming, whether it be a game of skill, chance, or anything else, he said.

The proposed regulations advise companies to take additional precautions, including displaying a registration mark on all online games licenced by a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) and informing users of their withdrawal and refund policies, how winnings are calculated and distributed, fees and other costs due, and the KYC procedure for user account registration.

The minister stated that more specifics regarding the demand for kid verification would become clear after the consultation is conducted.

The government has also advised that the gaming firm hire a top executive staff or a senior employee who is an Indian resident as chief compliance officer, and that the online gaming platform post a physical address in India on its website or mobile-based application.

MeitY has requested feedback on the draft by January 17.

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