Karnataka Government Bans Online Gaming, The Gaming Industry Set To Take Legal Recourse- Header

Karnataka Government Bans Online Gaming, The Gaming Industry Set To Take Legal Recourse

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Karnataka Government has passed an act that has banned any and all money based online gaming in the state, including skill based games, as well.

The Karnataka government issued the law that bans online games that involves wagering, betting or even “any act or risking money, or otherwise on the unknown result of an event including on a game of skill“. Karnataka now joins states such as Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana that have in place similar such bans.

The ban came into effect just two days after the home minister of the state had said that the government would be notifying the rules that would come under the amended laws first. And only then would it issue a final notification after a thorough examination of all the suggestions and objections. The home minister further said that this entire process would be done within a period of two months.

This recent move has, therefore, left the gaming industry stumpedAs per the All India Gaming Federation, revenue for gaming from Karnataka makes up around 10% of the entire revenue of the gaming sector. And this recent ban could be a massive blow to the gaming industry that is still in its nascent phases in the country. Several associations like The Online Rummy Federation and the All India Gaming Federation have been evaluating their legal options. This includes moving the Karnataka High Court as well for legal recourse.

Associations are looking towards challenging this ban in the Karnataka High Court. And they have been citing recent rulings in the Madras High Court and the Kerala High Court that had ruled against similar such bans on online skill gaming in the respective states.

The Gaming Industry Considering Legal Recourse Following Karnataka Government's Ban On Online Gaming

Karnataka Government Bans Online Gaming, The Gaming Industry Set To Take Legal Recourse- Inner

Speaking of the ban and the gaming industry’s next steps, Roland Landers, the head of the All India Gaming Federation says that, “As the apex industry body, we have notified our member companies to block Karnataka in accordance with the law. Our legitimate online skill gaming businesses will be impacted. Several pro gamers’ livelihoods will also be negatively impacted. Needless to say, the industry will challenge this in court and seek legal recourse”.

As per the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, issued on October 5, 2021, the government will be putting a ban on the betting or wagering of any form in connection with all games of chance. It is, however, the mention of “online skill gaming” in the notification that has been the major concern for the gaming industry.

The notification clarifies that the ban is applicable to any and all online games that involves any and all forms of betting and wagering, which also includes the uses of any form of “tokens valued in terms of money paid before or after issue of it, or electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance”. It also states that games that involve “any act or risking money on the unknown result of an event including on a game of skill” will also be banned in the state.

Following the passing of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, gaming platforms such as Games 24×7, Mobile Premier League and several others have been shutting down access to their money based online games for the users who are currently residing in the state.

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Source: Business Standard

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