Karnataka High Court to hear petition against online gambling ban

Karnataka has banned all forms of gambling in the state.
Karnataka has banned all forms of gambling in the state.

The Karnataka High Court has announced that next week it will hear listen to the petition of gaming companies who have challenged the banning of online gambling.

India.- Karnataka High Court has announced it will hear a petition against the Karnataka state government‘s decision to ban all forms of gambling in the state. The petition was made by Roland Landers, AIGF CEO, who complained that the government’s act makes no distinction between online gambling and online games of skill.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar appeared in court to represent the AIGF. Attorney general Prabhuling Navadgi told the court the government would submit a statement of opposition by Wednesday.

According to the Economic Times, the petition seeks interim relief, including suspending the implementation of the recent amendments to the Police Act related to online games and instructing the state government not to file a lawsuit under the law while the petition is pending. 

The revised law in Karnataka 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.

The petitioners stated that the Madras High Court recently overturned a similar law that tried to block online skill games in Tamil Nadu.

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.

However, 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.

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