Nick Bowden, ex-GSC inspector, joins SolutionsHub to be Head of Regulatory Affairs

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Rajeev Chandrashekhar was the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology. MeitY held a highly successful and meaningful consultation with parents, children, teachers, esports players, gamers and safety and trust organisations on Wednesday 11th January at Electronics Niketan in New Delhi.

The distinguished Esports athletes Tirth Mehta, Dhruv Saladi, Karman Singh Tikka, Snehil Ahiwar, and Dhruv Salvadi (Asian Games’18 Bronze Medalist), were all present at the discussion. This meeting was also attended by Shri Priyank Kanoongo, Chairperson – National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Professor Tejpavan Gadhok, Vice Dean – JGBS and Associate Director Centre for Sports Law & Governance at Jindal Global University, highlighted that “We recommend using different terminology and/or clarifying the current draft’s definition of ‘online gaming’ – in order to better cater for four distinct games: Casual, Real Money, Esports, and Learning. The guidelines must be tailored to these four distinct segments with the best practices safeguards.

MeitY’s Information Technology Rules (IT) Rules 2021 refers to online gaming. An “online game” is a game offered over the Internet that can be accessed by users through a computer resource, if they make a deposit in the expectation of winning.

Dhruv, an avid gamer and recent graduate from Manipal Institute of Technology, raised a critical question on this point. He stated, “Multiple Esports Tournaments at College or Ground Level at times require a registration fee for athletes and teams to participate in them. The winners are then presented with cash prizes and/or other prizes. This rule can create confusion among the public regarding such Esports tournaments/championships Hence clarity is needed in the definition of ‘online gaming’, he was also of the same opinion that instead of ‘online gaming’ it should be ‘igaming’ so as to establish a clear difference between Esports (which is sport and played electronically) and igaming”

Dhruv also pointed out that “Also for video games which charge users to use them or contain microtransactions,” all online game developers will need to obtain KYC for users. Rajeev ji replied, “eKYC” is mandatory for all financial transactions.

Lokesh Suji, an ex-esports athlete, expressed his opinion about the distinction between video gaming (and online gaming) by saying that the draft added the “deposit with expectation of winnings” word to the definition. These amendments will regulate fantasy, teen poker, poker, rummy and gambling. We should instead call them “online gaming” as the rest of the world defines them.

This meeting will be a key part of the IT Rules amendments related to igaming. It will also propel the industry to extraordinary heights.

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