The Indian government is reportedly considering imposing time and spending limits on online and real-money games to address growing concerns about gaming addiction among children and young adults. According to a report in the Economic Times, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is exploring measures to mitigate the negative impact of excessive gaming.


Gaming addiction has become a significant issue, particularly among younger demographics. The rise of online and real-money games has exacerbated this problem, leading to concerns about the mental health and well-being of children and young adults. Parents, educators, and mental health professionals have raised alarms over the addictive nature of many popular games.

Proposed Measures by the Indian Government

The government is considering adopting measures similar to those implemented in China, where strict regulations have been placed on gaming activities for minors. According to the Economic Times, there is a consensus within MeitY that time and spending limits could be more effective than relying on self-regulatory organizations (SROs) to certify games as permissible or non-permissible.

Learning from China’s Experience

In November 2019, China introduced regulations banning players under the age of 18 from playing games for longer than 90 minutes per day or three hours on public holidays. These rules were further tightened in August 2021, limiting gaming to one hour on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays. The Indian government is looking at these measures as a potential blueprint for its own regulations.

Key Aspects of the Proposed Indian Gaming Regulations

The proposed regulations in India would include several key aspects designed to protect young gamers from addiction and harmful content:

Time and Spending Limits

One of the primary measures being considered is the imposition of strict time and spending limits on online gaming. This approach aims to prevent excessive gaming sessions that can lead to addiction and other negative consequences.

Role of Self-Regulatory Organizations

While the government initially considered forming SROs to regulate the gaming industry, there are concerns about potential conflicts of interest. An IT Ministry official highlighted the risk that any SRO formed could be influenced by the gaming industry, which might undermine efforts to protect young gamers. As a result, MeitY is leaning towards direct regulatory measures instead.

Prohibition of Harmful Content

Gaming firms or platforms will be prohibited from offering, publishing, or sharing online games that contain harmful or banned content. This includes games that involve gambling or other activities deemed inappropriate for children.

Parental Controls and Age Ratings

To further protect young gamers, the regulations will require games to include robust parental controls and age-rating systems. These measures will help parents monitor and control their children’s gaming activities, ensuring that they are not exposed to harmful content.

Ensuring Compliance and Enforcement

The enforcement of these regulations will be overseen by multiple SROs, each comprising representatives from various sectors. These organizations will play a crucial role in determining the permissibility of online games based on criteria such as wagering and betting. Initially, three SROs will be notified, but the government may add more in the future.

Safeguarding User Interests

The proposed regulations are designed to safeguard users from various forms of harm associated with online gaming. Key objectives include:

  • Preventing Psychological Harm: By imposing time limits and parental controls, the regulations aim to reduce the risk of gaming addiction and its associated psychological impacts.
  • Protecting Financial Interests: By limiting spending on real-money games, the regulations seek to prevent financial losses and fraud, which can have devastating effects on individuals and families.
  • Upholding Sovereignty and Integrity: The regulations will ensure that online real-money games do not conflict with the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India.

Industry Reaction and Future Prospects

The Indian gaming industry, one of the largest globally with approximately 570 million active gamers, is closely watching these developments. While the proposed regulations may pose challenges for gaming companies, they also represent an opportunity to create a safer and more sustainable gaming environment.


The Indian government’s proposed regulations for online gaming aim to address the growing concern of gaming addiction among children and young adults. By imposing time and spending limits, prohibiting harmful content, and enhancing parental controls, the government seeks to protect the well-being of young gamers. While these measures may face resistance from the gaming industry, they are a crucial step towards ensuring a safer gaming experience for all.

The effectiveness of these regulations will depend on their implementation and enforcement. As the government moves forward with these plans, it will be essential to strike a balance between protecting users and supporting the growth of the gaming industry in India.

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