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India appoints MeitY a nodal agency for online gaming

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The Indian government has appointed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) as the nodal agency for online gaming in the country. Additionally, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has been appointed to be in charge of eSports. 

According to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, the ministry will release rules and guidelines for online gaming companies and consult the public soon after.

India’s central government has been at work devising these rules for some time now. A seven-member inter-ministerial task force was commissioned in May earlier this year under Chandrasekhar to select a nodal agency for the sector. 

The move is expected to bring more structure to the online gaming industry in India and ensure no illegal content or services are made available. Additionally, this also rules out games of chance or online gambling and betting in the industry.

Online gaming is a quickly growing industry in India.

While no explanation was provided as to why MeitY was chosen as the nodal agency, the move will hopefully address multiple regulatory issues that have been posing legal issues as current legal provisions related to the sector are mostly based on Entry 34 of the State list of the Constitution which deals with betting and gambling. 

Having a central body will make it easier for stakeholders to approach someone in case of any issues and address a number of consumer protection issues as well. 

This will also create a clear distinction between real-skill games and games of chance to prevent a repeat of skill-based real games coming under fire from different state governments. States where gambling is outlawed like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have previously tried to ban online games but later had to issue clarifications stating that the ban extended only to games of chance to prevent online gambling. 

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