India: more criticism of Karnataka ban on online gambling

A bill to ban online gambling has heavily criticized by the industry.
A bill to ban online gambling has heavily criticized by the industry.

Industry players believe the banning of online gambling in Karnataka would be a boost for illegal offshore betting apps.

India.- The Karnataka state government‘s decision to amend the Karnataka Police Act 1963 to ban all forms of gambling in the state continues to draw criticism from the industry. Many gaming leaders believe the bill should make a distinction between online gambling and online games of skill.

Speaking to The Week, Danish Sinha, the founder of Gamestacy, said: “The industry is further expected to generate revenues of over US$3bn by 2025. This move by the Karnataka government is a clear setback to the state’s reputation of being a technology hub and start-up capital.”

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 sad there should be close monitoring by a regulatory authority as online sports gaming cannot be categorised under gambling as it is skill-based.

A few days ago Roland Landers, AIGF CEO, claimed the banning of online gambling would damage the state’s standing as a tech centre and start-up capital.

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.”

He 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.

The ordinance amended the Tamil Nadu Gaming act of 1930, the Chennai City Police Act 1888 and the Tamil Nadu District Police Act of 1859 to make online gambling a punishable offence.

Online rummy and similar games now carry legal consequences that range from fines of Rs5,000 (US$64.45) to six months imprisonment for violators of the ban. Promotors of games and online gambling platforms could be fined Rs 10,000 (US$135) or receive up to two years in jail.

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