The All-India Gaming Federation (AIGF) claimed the banning of online gambling would damage the state’s standing as a tech centre and start-up capital.
India.- The news that the Karnataka state government is considering amending the Karnataka Police Act 1963 to ban all forms of gambling in the state, including online gambling has been heavily criticised by the All-India Gaming Federation.
According to Roland Landers, AIGF CEO, the bill makes no distinction between online gambling and online games of skill. He argues that the latter has been a signal of development for the country.
Landers said: “India is the fifth-largest online gaming market globally, and skill-based gaming, a dawn sector, is bringing forth an expanding number of unicorns inside the country, particularly in Karnataka. Skill-based gaming couldn’t be compared to gambling and prohibiting it isn’t an answer.”
Landers said the sector had contributed to the Indian economy and is expected to produce revenue of over US$3bn by 2025.
Home minister Araga Jnanendra has said that the legal amendment is necessary because it was difficult for the police to handle gambling and betting due to the new request from a bench of the state high court at Dharwad, which has stopped the police raiding gambling dens.
According to the Indian Express, Araga Jnanendra said: “There is a lot of gambling happening using electronic devices and this has to be controlled.
“The bill aims to strengthen provisions of the Karnataka Police Act to make gambling a cognisable and non-bailable offence and include the use of cyberspace including computer resources or any communication device as defined in the Information Technology Act, 2000.”
Congress leader Ramesh Kumar said that gambling activities should not be conducted without the police’s knowledge and efforts should be made to improve the police’s ability to fight crime.
The revised law provides for three years’ imprisonment instead of one year for gambling, and a fine of up to RS100,000. The law only excludes betting on horse races from the scope of gambling.