India: FICCI criticises Karnataka ban on online gambling

A ban on all forms of gambling in the state came into effect today.
A ban on all forms of gambling in the state came into effect today.

Members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has expressed their disagreement with the banning of online gambling in the state of Karnataka.

India.- A amendment banning all forms of gambling in the state continues to draw criticism from the industry even as it comes into effect today. Members of FICCI have said the amendment would lead to massive loss of revenue.

Sameer Barde, convenor of the FICCI Gaming Committee, noted that Karnataka is one of India’s startup hubs and that the amendment would deeply damage the industry. Dilip Chenoy, FICCI’s secretary general, has said he hopes authorities will revise the amendment to the Karnataka Police Act 1963 in the light of criticism.

A week ago, Roland Landers, AIGF CEO, who is also a member of FICCI, complained that the new law makes no distinction between online gambling and online games of skill. He argued that the latter has been a major area of development for India.

Landers said the sector had contributed to the Indian economy and is expected to produce revenue of over US$3bn by 2025.

Sanjay Agarwal, co-founder and managing partner of Umbrella Infocare, said that although online gambling could have negative consequences, “the bill must differentiate between gambling and skill-based games.”

He said there should be close monitoring by a regulatory authority but that online sports gaming cannot be categorised as gambling as it is skill-based.

On the other hand, 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.”

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