The new regulations may make it necessary for gaming companies to install mechanisms to prevent in-game purchases by anyone below 18 years of age
In the upcoming Digital India Act, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) may introduce new rules to limit the amount of time children can spend on a gaming app, a report in the Economic Times (ET) said. According to the ministry, this is being done to check the addiction to gaming in India.
The new regulations might make it necessary for gaming companies to install mechanisms to prevent in-game purchases by anyone below 18 years of age, the report added.
“Addiction (to games) has to be dealt with — whether we do it partly in the IT Rules and partly in the DIA (Digital India Act), it is going to be done. We are dealing with issues that need very new, innovative solutions,” a senior government official told ET.
The ministry will consult with gaming companies, parents and school associations on how the rules can be framed and what to include.
According to the official, one of the ways to monitor the hours that a child plays a game per session could be like a usage disclosure by mobile phones.
On Monday, the IT ministry released draft rules for gaming and it proposed a self-regulatory mechanism and grievance redressal system. It also proposed mandatory verification of players using KYC norms.
Chandrasekhar said online gaming companies will not be allowed to engage in betting on the outcome of games under the principle laid in draft rules.
“As per the principles laid under the rule, wagering on the outcome of the game will not be allowed. All online gaming companies will have to register with the self-regulatory body that will decide on the action required to be taken as per the rules.
“If you bet on an outcome of the game, it is prohibited. The self-regulatory organisations will develop filters and tests required to decide permissible gaming, be it a game of chance or game of skills or anything else,” he said.
The draft rules suggest additional due diligence for companies by displaying a registration mark on all online games registered by a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) and informing its users regarding its policy related to withdrawal or refund of the deposit, manner of determination and distribution of winnings, fees and other charges payable and KYC procedure for user account registration.
On the verification requirement of children, the minister said the finer details will emerge after the consultation is over.
The ministry has also proposed the appointment of key managerial personnel or a senior employee of the gaming firm, who should be an Indian resident, as chief compliance officer and the online gaming platform to have a physical address in India published on its website or mobile-based application.
MeitY has invited comments on the draft by January 17.
(With agency inputs)