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Heavy fines for illegal on-line game providers

Update: August, 28/2012 - 09:56

HA NOI — Internet service enterprises who supply online gaming services without being granted licences or use invalid licences will be fined up to VND200 million (US$9,600), the Ministry of Information and Communications has said.

The fine, which has been raised three times higher than the current regulation, is part of the ministry's draft decree on management and use of internet services and information on the network.

It stipulates that online enterprises who do not supply information on game classification for different ages during their advertisement activities, do not assure the benefit of players or solve disputes that arise between players will receive fines of between VND20-30 million ($960-1,440).

These enterprises will also be suspended from offering online games services, it said.

Nguyen Trong Phat, Chief of the Ministry Office, said that the draft decree aimed to strengthen the management of online gaming services, which has been remarkably developed in the past several years.

"The decree, if gets approval from the Government, would provide a basis for relevant authorities to implement inspections and fine violators, as the current one, issued in 2009, is no longer suitable", he said.

Figures from the ministry's Department for Management of Broadcasting, Television, and Electronic Information showed that 91 internet service enterprises are operating nation-wide. These enterprises were required to have licences of online services providers (OSP), internet services providers (ISP) and internet exchange providers (IXP) granted by the ministry.

Currently, 15 businesses are licensed to supply 59 games online in Viet Nam.

The draft decree also stipulates that internet shops located within 200 metres of schools or operating between 10pm to 8am will face fines of VND10-20 million ($480-960) and be forced to close down.

Last year, the inspectors checked about 3,240 internet shops nation-wide and found that 730 violated the regulations. These violations included operating without a license, being located within 200 metres of a school, and a shortage of host computers for managing customers. The total amount of fines was up to VND1.5 billion ($72,000).

Viet Nam officially linked to the World Wide Web at the end of 1997. After 15 years, more than 30.8 million Vietnamese people now have Internet access. — VNS

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