India: state of Karnataka seeks to ban online gambling

Other Indian states have already banned online gaming.
Other Indian states have already banned online gaming.

The Karnataka state government is considering amending its Karnataka Police Act 1963 to ban all forms of gambling in the state, including online gambling.

India.- Karnataka could be the next state in India to amend its legislation to ban online gambling. The Karnataka legislative assembly has passed a bill to amend its Karnataka Police Act 1963.

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.

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said the amendment is necessary as 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.

Last November, the state of Tamil Nadu made online gaming a punishable offence with promoters facing up to two years in jail.

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.

115 arrested for illegal gambling

Authorities arrested 115 people during a series of raids related to alleged illegal gambling activities in Kochi, Kerala.

Despite police warnings and government measures against public gatherings due to Covid-19, officers had detected 270 gambling centres in the area. In a series of raids over three days, officers seized cash worth over Rs 1.25 lakh.

The police said: “Fights at these gambling centres are regular, causing a nuisance to local residents. We urge the public to inform the police of any such illegal activities occurring in their neighbourhood.” 

Police believe that over 200 gambling centres are in operation in the area and that people in the surrounding areas frequent the centres, further exacerbating Covid-19 contagion.

An officer said: “We have come to know that these gambling centres mushroomed after the lockdown. These games are mostly hosted in interior areas which are not easily accessible to the police. 

“The persons running these centres provide all facilities, including food and liquor. In some cases, card game gambling is held at rented houses.”

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