Online Gaming Ban: Karnataka Home Minister tables the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill 2021 to ban online gaming and betting. Karnataka Home Minister tables Bill to ban online gaming; industry expresses concerns of the move being against a sunrise sector. The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021, was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on September 17 to ban online gaming or betting by amending the Karnataka Police Act of 1963, with maximum imprisonment of three years and a penalty up to ₹1 lakh.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra introduced the Bill, which aims to ‘ban online games, involving all forms of wagering or betting, including in the form of tokens valued in terms of money paid before or after issue of it. It banned electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance’.
The legal jurisprudence emanating from Supreme Court for over the past 60 years is very clear, that games of skill are not gambling, and offering of games of skill is a legitimate activity protected under the Indian Constitution. This has been reiterated multiple times by various high courts, including the Karnataka High Court. Karnataka Home Minister
Elaborating this further Justice Vikramajit Sen, a former Judge of the Supreme Court & former Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, added, “The Indian regulatory framework has clearly differentiated between games of skill and games of chance in India. Just because games of skills may involve an entry fee they cannot be considered gambling. Games of chance are considered gambling as it involves luck rather than skill and thus it is expressly prohibited by the law, wherein games of skill are considered legal across most states including digital & online. The sector needs the support of state governments to promote initiatives towards responsible gaming and recognition of the AIGF ‘Self-regulation Framework’. AIGF and its advisory members look forward to an opportunity to engage stakeholders within the state government to make an industry representation on the matter.” Karnataka Home Minister
With serious concerns looming from the Karnataka Government’s move to ban online gaming, PK Misra, President Players’ Association – AIGF and former senior IAS said, “The move will affect the online skill-based gaming sector, putting an end to player’s right to earn their livelihood. There is no clarity on the scope of this law, and we remain in constant fear of the players’ livelihood being banned at any time without prior information or dialogue.” Karnataka Home Minister