Online betting, gaming ban: Industry to go to court

The law bans all forms of wagering or betting in connection with any game of chance, except horse racing and lottery.

Published: 07th October 2021 05:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th October 2021 05:53 AM   |  A+A-

Online Gaming

 (Representational Image)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Online gaming is now an illegal activity in Karnataka. The State government notified the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, on October 5, which banned wagering or betting in connection with any game of chance. 

The law bans all forms of wagering or betting in connection with any game of chance, except horse racing and lottery. The Act prohibits risking money on the unknown result of an event, including on a game of skill, and provides for maximum imprisonment of three years or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh. With an approximate value of over a billion USD, India is the fifth largest online gaming market globally. There are over 400 gaming startups, which are expected to generate revenue in excess of $3billion by 2025. 

Karnataka is home to more than 91 gaming companies and developers, which employ about 4,000 people. The industry has reacted strongly to the ban and is planning to seek legal recourse. “As the apex industry body, we have notified our member companies to block Karnataka in accordance with the law.

However, we would like to reiterate our stand since legitimate online skill gaming businesses that have the right to trade, have been worst impacted. The irony is that illegal offshore gambling operators will flourish. Needless to say, the industry will challenge this in court. The Madras and Kerala High Courts have recently struck down similar legislations that tried to stop online skill gaming in the states,” said Chief Executive Officer (CEO), All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Roland Landers. 

The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has also reacted strongly to the ban and called it a “massive blow to the fastest growing sector in entertainment”. “Investments, jobs, revenues and consequently, taxes will all be severely affected,” said Biren Ghose, Chairman - CII National Committee - The Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics Sector (AVGC) & President, Association of Bangalore Animation Industry (ABAI). He added that the industry sought “clarity in regulation based on several precedents which establish the legitimacy of games of skills”.


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