National Broadcasting Policy: Stakeholders in gaming seek clarity on regulations

Indian gaming industry seeks clear regulations in new National Broadcast Policy as stakeholders highlight user safety and growth concerns in TRAI open house.

By  Storyboard18May 16, 2024 3:34 PM
National Broadcasting Policy: Stakeholders in gaming seek clarity on regulations
According to industry reports, the online gaming community in India comprised of 42.559 crore gamers in FY 2023, which was second largest after China.From FY20 to FY23, the online gaming segment in India experienced a CAGR of 28 percent culminating in a market size of Rs16,428 crore in FY23. It is suggested that it will reach Rs 33,243 crore in FY28, at a 15 percent CAGR.

The Indian government is currently formulating a new National Broadcast Policy (NBP) with the aim of promoting growth and innovation in the media and entertainment space. In a bid to ensure a growth trajectory for the Indian online gaming segment, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also added the sector to the policy proposal that is currently in the consultation stage.

While stakeholders have already submitted their written comments on the paper, in an open meeting on May 15, they put together a strong argument seeking clarity.

Koan Advisory’s Varun Ramdas for instance pointed out that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has not yet implemented self-regulatory organisations (SROs) for the online gaming industry and due to this delay, temporary measures should be taken to address the current situation.

He also mentioned the need for clear distinctions between legal gaming operators who offer legitimate gammon service and over companies or brands who may be involved with illegal betting and gambling activities.

Similarly, Shreya Pandey from business and management consulting firm Primus Partners India said, “Warnings and advisories have urged for advertisements to feature only permissible online real money games and without SRP's in place, this distinction between permissible and non permissible games is impossible. This issue should be addressed in the broadcast policy,” she said.

Lawyer and tech policy advisor and head at All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) said that verification process by the self regulated bodies is necessary.

“The other major concern in the online gaming sector is that the users are not able to see which are safe, trusted games and which are not.here should be visible marks on each platform from which users can identify between legal and illegal gaming platforms,” he said.

“Apart from the implementation of appropriate laws, it is also essential to provide the necessary impetus to the domestic gaming sector, and particularly to upcoming Indian game developers,’ AIGF has said in their response to the consolation paper on the subject.

There are other issues too raised by stakeholders.

For instance, The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports in their written submission to TRAI on the consultation paper they had recommended avoiding regulatory overlap between the IT Rules and the National Broadcasting Policy.

“The amended IT Rules have been drafted following extensive stakeholder consultations, and incorporate principles aimed at fostering an open, safe, transparent, and accountable online gaming environment. In light of the promulgation of these Rules, the MeiTY is best positioned to effectively govern, administer, and regulate the online gaming industry in India through the said Rules,” they had said.

Thus, at present, according to the body, the pressing requirement is the operationalisation of the amended IT Rules, in harmonisation with such regulatory measures and in furtherance of the broader goals of user safety, transparency, disclosure and integrity in online gaming.

As per their recommendation, in addition to the current three-tier regulatory structure specified in the IT Rules, MeitY may consider adopting regulatory models that include a three-tier regulatory framework akin to Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, introducing a registration mechanism mandating all online gaming intermediaries to register with MeitY or any other regulatory framework which may be deemed appropriate by MeitY.

According to industry reports, the online gaming community in India comprised of 42.559 crore gamers in FY 2023, which was second largest after China.From FY20 to FY23, the online gaming segment in India experienced a CAGR of 28 percent culminating in a market size of Rs16,428 crore in FY23. It is suggested that it will reach Rs 33,243 crore in FY28, at a 15 percent CAGR.


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First Published on May 16, 2024 3:34 PM

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