As growing number of people have started using information and communication technology (ICT), as has also encouraged many entrepreneurs to launch ICT enabled e-commerce and business ventures. Few such ventures include online gaming, online gambling, online poker, online rummy, online games, e-sports websites, etc. Another related business venture is online fantasy sports websites that have become very popular across the world.
Fantasy sports have also become very popular in India. However, the legality of running and playing online fantasy sports in India is still a tricky issue. We at Perry4Law Law Firm are frequently approached regarding managing the legal issues of online gaming, online gambling, online poker, online rummy, online games, e-sports websites, online fantasy sports websites, etc in India and other jurisdictions. We have suggested all our client to comply with techno legal compliances associated with these online and virtual games. We have very categorically told them they should not launch their websites and business ventures before they comply with techno legal issues associated with these websites.
Just like any other online games, entrepreneurs engaged in fantasy sports in India are also required to comply with certain techno legal requirements. There is a need to change the mindset of online games entrepreneurs who are still not serious about legal issues in India. Even if some are interested in complying with the legal requirements of online gaming they are ill advised and do not comply with Indian laws properly. The fact remains that there are a set of legal compliances for running an online fantasy sports website in India.
This techno legal compliance must not be confused with a dedicated law for running an online fantasy websites in India that is still missing. The problem stems from the fact that there is no clear regulatory framework that can be looked upon to decide legality or illegality of online poker, online rummy, online card games, fantasy sports, etc in India. On the other hand, regulatory compliances are scattered among different laws of India and combining them together at a single place is a big challenge. Unfortunately, online gaming and fantasy sports websites in India are not complying with these techno legal requirements and they are on the wrong side of Indian laws. Merely because government has not taken legal actions against them does not mean that it is legal to run an online fantasy sports website without complying with the techno legal requirements.
As on date, online gaming, online gambling, fantasy sports and online lotteries websites are not complying with the internet intermediary compliances and cyber law due diligence (pdf) requirements prescribed under the Information Technology Act 2000. Similarly, almost all of the online poker websites in India are violating one or other laws of India. Although online gaming market in India is booming yet regulatory compliances cannot be ignored. It seems online gaming and online gambling industry of India is not considering regulations while conducting their businesses in India.
Perry4Law conducted a techno legal audit of various fantasy sports websites operating in India and we found the same problems with them as have been discussed above. Almost all of these fantasy sports websites have used a single cut-copy-paste criteria when it comes to techno legal compliances and drafting of legal documents of the websites. Clearly, these online fantasy sports websites are violating the laws of India and they may be prosecuted very soon. Those using mobile applications can also be prosecuted if they fail to comply with techno legal regulatory norms of India.
Even the banks, payment gateways and online payment merchants, mobile payment vendors, etc supporting these online poker, online rummy, online card games and fantasy sports websites can be held liable for not following cyber law due diligence norms as they have blindly approved online payment option to these illegal and law breaking websites. These banks and payment gateways can also be held liable for money laundering, FEMA violations and assisting in tax evasion. If such banks, payment gateways and online payment merchants have already approved such illegal and law breaking online poker, online rummy, online games and fantasy sports websites in India, it is in their own interest to cancel such approval immediately. The banks etc must ask them to first comply with applicable techno legal compliances and then support their claims with a proper techno legal consultancy from a reputed law firm.
If you need a techno legal compliance and legal consultancy from Perry4Law for your online games or fantasy sports, please establish a client attorney relationship so that we can start working upon your project. Perry4Law wishes all the best to all gaming stakeholders and entrepreneurs.