Priyanka Kumari | Nov 27, 2023 |
Govt Gears Up to Strengthen Online Gaming Rules Amid Growing Betting Concerns
The Centre is preparing to strengthen online gaming regulations in response to concerns about money laundering and offshore betting.
In response to growing concerns about the efficacy of existing rules governing the online gaming sector, the Centre has launched an in-depth examination to address issues such as offshore betting apps posing as online games and potential money laundering risks. An inter-ministerial team led by the Union Home Ministry, which includes major officials such as Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, is seeking to develop more stringent regulations to improve monitoring and control.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) set guidelines for online gaming in April, introducing a self-regulation approach with government control. The current concerns come from the perceived limitations of this approach, which prompted the formation three months ago of an informal inter-ministerial group of ministers (GoM). To address challenges related to the online gaming environment, the group intends to take an “all-of-government” approach.
Prominent players and issues:
Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal comprise the inter-ministerial group. The Home Ministry is focused on discouraging online gaming platforms, whereas the Finance Ministry is concerned with potential money laundering norms.
Mahadev betting app consequence:
The recent political controversy in Chhattisgarh over the Mahadev betting app has highlighted the importance of tightening regulations. The consequence has prompted a collaborative effort to construct a strong regulatory framework capable of effectively preventing money laundering and limiting illicit betting sites.
GST and Regulatory Provisions:
The implementation of a 28% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on online gaming was an initial response, but the consensus is that stronger rules, particularly involving betting sites, are required. The government is eager to strengthen rules in order to build a more strong framework for online gaming companies.
Current Situation and Predictions:
The discussions of the inter-ministerial group have put the initially notified gaming rules by the IT Ministry on hold, as they are anticipated to be revised based on the group’s suggestions. Due to state Assembly elections, the group is expected to meet in the first two weeks of December, predicted on December 15.
Pending Proposals and issues:
Despite receiving applications, the IT Ministry has not accepted any plans for the formation of self-regulatory bodies, pending the recommendations of the inter-ministerial group. According to the source, many applications included members who were potentially not fully independent of gaming companies, posing a dilemma for the government in promising impartiality.
The formation of an inter-ministerial group shows the gravity of concerns about money laundering and offshore betting as the Centre increases efforts to improve online gambling rules. The group’s upcoming meeting is expected to pave the way for stronger rules, with the goal of creating a transparent and accountable framework for India’s online gaming sector.
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