Karnataka government to ban online gambling and betting

The cabinet approved a draft of the amendment bill, which will be placed before the Houses during the legislature session commencing from September 13.

Published: 05th September 2021 04:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th September 2021 04:25 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

BENGALURU: Online gambling and betting will soon be banned in Karnataka. The Cabinet on Saturday took a decision to amend the Karnataka Police Act to bring the ban into effect. However, online lottery and betting on horse races, happening within or outside the State, can continue legally, said Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy after the cabinet meeting. 

The cabinet approved a draft of the amendment bill, which will be placed before the Houses during the legislature session commencing from September 13, he added. The decision follows a direction from the Karnataka High Court asking the State Government to take a stand on online gambling. 

The draft bill states, "Gaming means all forms of wagering or betting in the form of tokens, valued in terms of money, virtual currency and electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance. It is also any act of risking money on the unknown result of an event, including on a game of skill, playing any game or by any third parties."

Madhuswamy said the instrument of gaming includes any article used or intended to be used, including computers, computer systems, mobile apps, internet or cyber space, virtual platforms, software and accessories.

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra told The New Indian Express that earlier, the police could raid places where playing cards and other gambling activities took place. 

Tech can help tackle online gambling: Home Minister Araga Jnanendra

But online gambling can occur from any remote place. "The police do not have powers under existing laws to take action against online gambling. We need to strengthen the law and that is the reason we are amending the Karnataka Police Act," Jnanendra added.

He said that online gambling can be tackled only with the help of technology. "We have a panel of experts and we will take action against online gambling sites. There is a need to bring strict rules and penalty clauses. Tamil Nadu suffered a setback after banning online gambling. After the order, some websites went to court, which ruled against the government. We will study the bills passed by other states on online gambling and come up with a better set of rules," he added.

In July this year, Chief Secretary P Ravikumar filed an affidavit before a division bench of the High Court in response to the direction issued to file a statement of objections on a PIL filed by DR Sharada. The chief secretary submitted that a draft Bill has been prepared for the consideration of the Cabinet after consultations with various departments and legal experts.

The affidavit stated that soon after the Cabinet approves the draft bill, the Home Department will take necessary steps to place it before the legislature. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is said to be keen on banning online gambling.

Soon after taking charge, he had instructed senior police officials to control this menace and other activities on the dark web and drug trafficking. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala have already banned online rummy.

Tamil Nadu passed the law last year when it found that many people had committed suicide after losing money on online gaming sites. The Puducherry government has written to the Union Government seeking such a ban.

Other Cabinet decisions

  • Rs 98 crore approved to fill 26 lakes in Chikkanayakanahalli of Tumakuru

  • The term of advisory committee to woo investors has been extended by one more year. Government nod to pay them Rs 12 crore

  • Seven cases related to Mysuru palace have been dropped, including the issue of photography inside

  • The palace which the Lokayukta had investigated

  • A sum of Rs 25 crore has been allotted to develop Veerapura--- the birth place of Shivakumara Swami

  • Approval to purchase 13,061 toolkits for Scheduled Caste students studying at ITIs

  • Rs 17 crore to purchase medicines for the possible COVID-19 third wave


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