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India develops internet gambling regulations

The Indian government has issued a new set of regulations to control internet gambling, establishing a number of "self-regulatory" groups to oversee the industry.

To counter online gambling, India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology released modifications to its Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules.

The revisions will be subject to public comment until January 17th.

Under the rules, an online game is defined as any game played via the internet where a player "makes a deposit with the expectation of obtaining rewards". The Indian government may declare certain games to be covered by the rules if necessary.

According to the revisions, any online game offered must not violate any current regulations, such as state-wide gambling bans.

India's self-regulation bodies for online gambling

Rather than establishing a government regulator, the revisions would allow for the formation of "self-regulatory bodies" comprised of online gaming companies that would develop online gambling laws.

A board of directors for such a body must include "an independent eminent person from the field of online gaming, sports, or entertainment, or such other relevant field," as well as "an individual who represents online game players," a psychology or consumer education expert, and a public policy expert nominated by the Indian government.

These groups should develop a set of laws "in order to protect users from harm," such as addiction, as well as to protect children and avoid financial crimes.

They should also need members to verify their users, perform know-your-customer checks, develop a complaints process, and have an Indian contact address.

If a self-regulatory does not develop sufficient standards, the central government may "order it to adopt actions to address the non-compliance". It could then suspend the registration of such a body if required.

Last year, MP Sushil Kumar Modi urged the government to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for online gaming, citing concern about its growing popularity in the country.

In June, India launched a crackdown on betting advertisements by foreign operators. In a media advise, the government stated that print and electronic media "should desist" from publishing advertisements for online betting services.



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