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India plans federal oversight of all real-money online games

The eagerly anticipated laws are expected to have a significant impact on the gaming industry in India, which research firm Redseeer predicts would be worth $7 billion by 2026 and be dominated by real-money games. Indian businesses Dream11 and Mobile Premier League, which are well-known for fantasy cricket, were recently financed by Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital.

An Indian panel tasked with drafting the regulation in August proposed a new body to decide whether a game involves skill or chance, and then let skill games be governed by planned federal rules that call for registration requirements, know-your-customer norms and a grievance redress mechanism.
Chance games, which are viewed as being similar to gambling, which is largely restricted in India, were expected to remain under the control of individual state governments, who would be allowed to regulate them, according to prior reports from Reuters

However, a representative from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office opposed to this disparity in a government meeting on October 26 and called for expanded monitoring of all games, according to the private minutes of the meeting accessed by Reuters.

The official was described in the minutes as saying that it was difficult to distinguish between games that required skill and those that required chance due to a lack of legal clarity and conflicting court rulings, and that “online gaming may be considered as one activity/service with no distinction.”
In India, it has proven difficult to define games. The card game rummy and several fantasy games are skill-based and legal, according to the Indian Supreme Court, whereas state courts have had differing opinions on games like poker

Requests for comment from the Modi administration and the IT ministry, which is writing the guidelines, went unanswered.

According to three individuals directly involved in the rule-making process, including two government officials in New Delhi, the rules will give the federal government greater control over all types of games while preserving state governments’ authority to completely outlaw gambling or games of chance.
The new laws were enacted in response to rising worries that the popularity of these games, particularly among young people, had resulted in addiction, financial losses, and even some recorded suicide instances.

According to one of the insiders in the government, the Modi administration is still worried about the possibility for addiction on such platforms. In its August report, the government group had proposed that new regulations should include so-called “de-addiction measures” such establishing deposit and withdrawal limits as well as regular warnings and cautions.