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  • Akanksha pandey

The Importance of Fast-Tracking Regulation for the Online Gaming Industry

Akanksha Pandey,

Renaissance law college, Indore 

URGENCY IN REGULATION OF THE ONLINE GAMING INDUSTRY

CONTEXT:

  • This article analyzes the urgency of the regulation of online gaming and argues for the urgent need for robust regulation to protect users, promote responsible growth, and secure national interests.

  • It also poses risks, particularly when it comes to excessive play and its potential negative impact on an individual's mental health.

INTRODUCTION:

As we live in the 21st century, in this era, online gaming is becoming very popular among this generation. Generally, people used to prefer to play games in their free time. One of the factors contributing to this scenario is the stress experienced by students. Among the effects of these electronic games are addiction and health problems such as antisocial behaviour, depression, and mental health.

The Indian online gaming industry has experienced predominantly growth, but it also brings forth several concerns. The digital revolution has transformed everyone's lives, particularly in India, with its booming online services and massive Internet user base. While this has brought significant benefits, it has also created new challenges, particularly in the rapidly growing online gaming industry. Basically, online gaming is an electronic means by which people play games for fun.. In today’s era, gaming for financial gain has become prevalent. As we all know, excessive engagement in anything will cause greater harm to individual well-being. It involves playing games through the internet, facilitating player connections and collaborative game play regardless of their physical locations. It is accessible and available on every individual device, including computers and mobile phones.

What is the current trend in the Indian online gaming ecosystem?

Bills for Regulating the Gaming Industry:

  • The bill namely “THE ONLINE GAMING (REGULATION) BILL, 2022”  has been introduced as a private members bill in Lok Sabha[1]. This bill aims to maintain integrity in online gaming and establish a regulatory framework.

  • At a recent meeting, Attapur discussed the need for regulating online gaming in India. while some of the states like Tamil Nadu,Telengana,Andrapradesh and Karnataka have passed laws banning online games.

  • However, they were quashed by state high courts on the grounds that an outright ban was unfair to games of skill.[2]

  • The government of Rajasthan introduced a bill named “Rajasthan Virtual Sports (Regulation) bill” is trying to commence a draft bill in order to regulate online games, specifically fantasy games.[3]

Growth Prospects

Growth has increased tremendously with increasing internet accessibility and evolving consumer preferences. According to a 2021 report by Boston Consulting Group, (BCG), India’s mobile gaming sector is projected to grow from USD 1.5 billion in revenue in 2020 to USD 5 billion by 2025.

Increasing gaming companies: 

Currently, India hosts over 400 gaming companies, including Infosys Limited and Hyperlink Info System.[4]

Why is there urgency in gaming industry regulation?

Financial Risks in Online Gaming:

Players may become victims of fraudulent activities, like in DREAM 11, ZUPPI,ZUPPI  ,RUMMY CIRCLE, and MPL. These are platforms on which individuals have to take their own associated risks. Even though it is illegal, people still play. People may face financial risks, including debt and economic hardship, due to excessive spending on gaming. It does not have any guidelines regarding that. Even people don’t have any consumer forum to seek their grievances.

As it is well said, excessive engagement in anything is always harmful to an individual's well-being, which leads to potential compulsive behaviour, neglect of responsibilities, and negative impacts on mental health. It is a wide issue that can have various underlying factors. It involves psychological, social, and biological components, including the social interactions within the gaming community.

Means for Money Laundering:

  • The online gaming industry can potentially be exploited for money laundering due to its large volumes of transactions, virtual currencies, and complex network of accounts.

  • Criminals may use gaming platforms to hide their illegal money, as it is tough for authorities to catch them because it's all happening online and it looks like regular gaming activity.

Prone to cyber-attacks:

Online gambling sites can be vulnerable to cyber attacks, which can lead to the theft of sensitive personal and financial information of the players, thus violating the data privacy rules as well as regulations and infringing upon the privacy of the users.

What measures would be taken to regulate online gaming in India?

  • Urgent Need for Strong Regulation in Online Gaming:

There is a strong requirement for strong regulation in the online gaming industry. As many attempts by some state governments to ban online gaming face challenges due to the cross-border nature of the internet, The Online Gaming (Regulation) Bill, 2022, presents a foundation for reform, urging parliamentary adoption to address this pressing need effectively.

Steps of Government 

  • Some state governments endeavour  to regulate online gaming, yet the inherent cross-border nature of the internet complicates enforcement efforts to ban online gaming. Such a ban is almost impossible, leading to the unintentionally and unlawful consequence of legitimate, regulated platforms being replaced by unregulated and potentially harmful ones.

  • In this reference, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) has introduced various checks and balances through relevant amendments to the rules, which are the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, notified in April 2023. 

  • The main motive of these amendments is to control the various unlawful, unabated, and unwarranted negative impacts of online gaming activities on users, especially children and other vulnerable sections of society, as well as an individual person.

CONCLUSION:

The gaming industry provides both benefits, like a coin has two sides, head and tail, just as everything has its own pros and cons. It is our responsibility to keep in mind how much time we should give to games, as sometimes people get addicted to them. Sometimes excessive use leads to depression and disturbances to mental health.

References:

 

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