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Government Extends Deadline for Online Gaming Laws Until January 25

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The public input period on the proposed online gaming laws has been extended by the government until January 25, according to a notification.

The proposed rules were posted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on January 2, and interested parties were urged to submit their comments by January 17.

In a meeting with representatives from online gaming companies and intermediaries, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar reaffirmed that industry organizations would not be allowed to become self-regulatory organizations (SRO) and that they needed to be independent of the dominance of gaming intermediaries.

“It is wrong to assume that an industry body will automatically become an SRO (self-regulatory organisation). Any industry body will not be SRO. It will be a body representing all the stakeholders,”according to the minister.

The self-regulatory agency that has been suggested would be in charge of game certification and ensuring that online games that are available in India abide by laws and regulations.

“There could be a first pre-registration step that maybe has a slightly less stringent criterion and then within three months of pre-registration the operator has to get the final registration for the game,” adds Trivikraman Thampy, co-founder and chief executive of Games24x7.

In addition to the SRO, the IT ministry also suggested making online gamers' KYCs mandatory.

The consultations held here on Tuesday included participation from representatives of online gaming companies such Games 24x7 and WinZo, among others, as well as a few industry organizations.

Some of the stakeholders, including WinZo games, expressed apprehension about the requirement of games being allowed to operate in India only after registration with an SRO and said such pre-registrations were “highly likely to compromise the confidentiality of information required to be submitted for evaluation/certification and lead to IP leaks.”

“There could be a first pre-registration step that maybe has a slightly less stringent criterion and then within three months of pre-registration the operator has to get the final registration for the game,” adds Trivikraman Thampy, co-founder and chief executive of Games24x7.

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