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India cracks down on betting games

India is cracking down on games that offer betting services by amending its IT Rules 2021 that will require self-regulatory bodies to ban apps that offer wagering, potentially disrupting a wide range of VC-funded startups that have mushroomed in the space in the past decade.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of state for electronics and information technology, said at a press conference that online gambling and betting platforms presented challenges to New Delhi’s vision of open and safe internet. “Various startups run afoul of different state regulations. Notified rules will help bring uniformity, certainty.”

The Ministry of Electronics and IT has tasked the gaming industry, which represent a multi-billion dollars opportunity, to form self-regulatory bodies and in its amendment on Thursday said such bodies will determine what games are permitted in the country.

“These rules don’t deal with all the nuances and sophistication of games of chance and games of skills. We are bypassing that by laying out a basic principle that the moment an online game trespasses into involving betting and wagering, regardless of its core content, then it falls afoul of these rules,” he said.

Chandrasekhar said many online platforms have masqueraded as gaming have offered betting services and in some cases have been involved in criminal activities such as money laundering.

More to follow.

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