India amends Technology Rules to recognise online gambling

Online gambling concept
Image: Shutterstock

India’s government has made amendments to its Information Technology Rules of 2021 to identify gambling products and services for relevant stakeholders. 

Introduced in February 2021 by the Indian government, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules of 2021 are standards and requirements to regulate online content and platforms, including social media intermediaries, messaging services, and digital media publishers.

Framed under the Information Technology Act 2000, the regulations aim to address the challenges of the country’s evolving digital landscape and user rights to ensure safe and secure online environments are provided by digital platforms.

The Technology Rules amendment has been issued by India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology – an executive agency responsible for enforcing policies and initiatives related to the development and growth of the Indian IT, tech and digital economies.

MeitY’s goal is to help Indian businesses and develop policies to encourage digital growth, safeguard online consumers, enhance cybersecurity standards and promote innovation.

The 2021 Rules initially classified online gambling as harmful content “inconsistent with or contrary to the laws in force”.

The new amendments now recognise online real money games as those “where users deposit cash or other valuables with the expectation of winning”, as well as “those offered on the internet and accessible by users through a computer resource or intermediary”.

Social media and online gaming firms are now required to make reasonable efforts to prevent users from hosting, displaying, uploading, modifying, publishing, transmitting, storing, updating, or sharing any information related to online games that have not been verified as permissible, or any advertisement or promotion of an impermissible online game.

MeitY is now authorised to designate online gaming self-regulatory bodies to verify online real money games as permissible and ensure compliance with existing laws. Designated bodies will also have a role in enforcing the regulations.

The new regulations are part of the Indian government’s goal to regulate online content and provide protection from harmful or illegal material.