Home Minister Araga Jnanendra has announced that the Indian State of Karnataka plans to implement new legislation outlawing online gaming once amendments to existing laws receive Governor’s assent.
“The government has started working on the rules. We want to implement it soon. We hope to implement in about two months,” Mr. Jnanendra said. The new rules will deal with the subject in greater detail, explain the processes of implementation and lay down procedures. The government say they found it inevitable to bring the Bill as ‘good money was being spent on betting’ and online gambling was ruining the youth financially and psychologically. “It is leading to rowdyism and other illegal activities in the society,” the Minister said, adding that “the amendment has removed certain legal difficulties in dealing with gambling as pointed out by the Dharwad Bench of the Karnataka High Court. We have made betting and wagering in online games a cognisable offence punishable with a prison term of more than a year. We have also increased the fine amount by 10 to 15 times.”
Gaming companies are reported to be planning to challenge Karnataka’s new law in courts, but Mr. Jnanendra says that the State’s amendments are aligned with past court rulings. “Courts have allowed skill games, and we have accepted it. But no court has allowed betting. Our law also allows online skill games but not betting or wagering on them. The government is well prepared to defend if a legal challenge arises with regard to the new law,” he added.