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India Releases New Online Gambling AmendmentsPublished January 10, 2023
India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT recently published new amendments to its Information Technology Rules. These amendments address the issue of non-regulation of online gambling in a country in which it’s so prevalent. The amendments follow the government’s crackdown on betting ads from operators from abroad.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT recently published new amendments to its Information Technology Rules. These amendments address the non-regulation of online gambling in a country that is so prevalent. The amendments follow the government’s crackdown on betting ads from operators from abroad.
The new amendments recognize that online gambling in India is not going away. In fact, according to the VC firm Sequoia, online gambling in India could generate approximately $5 billion by 2025. It’s already seen 38% growth between 2017 and 2020.
As an industry with so much potential, the Ministry’s new amendments seek to lay some ground rules. The amendments:
- Define online gambling: Online gambling is an online game in which a player deposits money with the expectation of winning money.
- Define how online gambling relates to existing laws: Online games that are offered must not violate existing local laws like gambling bans.
- Allow for the creation of “self-regulatory” bodies (SROs): SROs will be non-governmental entities made up of online gambling businesses, and these entities will create online gambling rules.
More About Self-Regulatory Bodies
India’s allowance for self-regulatory bodies is an interesting development in the online gambling industry. In most jurisdictions, national or local governments regulate the industry, but India has handed control over to the gambling businesses themselves, which seems self-serving.
However, SROs don’t have free reign to do whatever they want. The amendments state that the board of a self-regulatory body must include:
- An “independent eminent person” from the online gambling industry or other related industries
- Someone who represents the players
- A psychologist or consumer education expert
- A public policy expert nominated by India’s central government
Furthermore, the amendments state that SROs should require members to verify their users, implement a KYC (know your customer) policy and complaints-checking process, and have a local contact address.
If a self-regulatory body fails to create regulations and rules that the central government of India deems sub-standard, the government can step in and help. If the body refuses governmental input, the government has the right to suspend the body.
With the creation of self-regulatory bodies, the expectation is that online casino operators will bear an SRO registration mark on their games. This will protect consumers from playing at questionable online casinos, minimize fraud, and prevent underage gambling.
According to Rajeev Chandrasekhar The Minister of State for Electronics and IT, statistics show that approximately 40% to 45% of games in India are women, which was a driving force for the new amendments to “keep the gaming ecosystem safe.”