The government intends to oversee all real-money internet games

According to a government document and three sources, the Indian government’s planned regulation of internet gambling would apply to all real-money games after the prime minister’s office opposed a proposal to merely regulate games of skill and exclude games of chance.
The long-awaited legislation are expected to shape the future of India’s gaming business, which is expected to be worth $7 billion by 2026 and dominated by real-money games, according to research company Redseeer.
Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital have recently financed Indian fantasy cricket businesses Dream11 and Mobile Premier League.
In August, an Indian panel tasked with drafting the regulation proposed establishing a new body to determine whether a game involves skill or chance, and then allowing skill games to be governed by planned federal rules that include registration requirements, know-your-customer norms, and a grievance redress mechanism.
Chance games, which are similar to gambling and are usually prohibited in India, were planned to remain within the authority of individual state governments, which would be allowed to regulate them, according to Reuters.
According to the private minutes of the meeting accessed by Reuters, an official from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office protested to such a distinction in an October 26 cabinet meeting, advocating for increased regulation over all forms of games.
The official was described in the minutes as noting that differentiating games as skill or chance was difficult owing to a lack of legal clarity and contradicting court rulings, and that “online gaming may be seen as one activity/service with no differentiation.”
In India, defining games has been a source of contention. The Indian Supreme Court, for example, has ruled that the card game rummy and certain fantasy games are skill-based and acceptable, although different state courts have ruled differently regarding games like poker.
A request for comment from Modi’s office and the IT ministry, which is writing the guidelines, was not returned.
According to three people directly involved in the rule-making process, including two government officials in New Delhi, the rules will give the federal administration broader oversight over all types of games, while state governments will retain the authority to impose outright bans on gambling or games of chance.
The new laws are being drafted in response to rising worries that the spread of such games, particularly among young people, has led to addiction and financial losses, as well as some documented cases of suicide.
According to one government source, Modi’s administration is still concerned about the potential addiction of such platforms.
In its August report, the government group advised that new laws include “de-addiction methods” such as frequent warnings and cautions, as well as deposit and withdrawal limitations.

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