Karnataka BJP MLA urges Finance Minister to ban marketing of online gaming companies

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Karnataka BJP MLA Suresh Kumar has urged the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to ban online gaming companies‘ marketing. In a letter written by Suresh Kumar requesting the Finance Ministry to take severe action against the online gaming firms, he mentioned that these companies use shrewd marketing tactics to lure people.

Giving further clarification on the same, he mentioned that the gaming companies offer a ‘welcome bonus’ scheme of thousands of rupees in order to get addicted to their games and thus, according to Suresh Kumar, the steps to ban marketing, advertising and texting by such online gaming companies must be imposed with immediate effect.

At the same time, the BJP MLA has also highlighted how these online gaming tactics have adversely affected the lives of the people as some of them have lost a significant amount of money while others choose to end their lives after falling in debt traps and unable to repay the money to the creditors.

“As a lawmaker representing Rajajinagar Assembly Constituency in Bengaluru, Karnataka, I am in receipt of verbal complaints from several friends and parents of residents from my constituency as well as from other parts of Bengaluru that they have been getting both text messages on their mobile phones and unsolicited marketing calls trying to entice/force them to play online rummy by betting their money,” Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Kumar added that online gambling is as addictive as “liquor” and “cigarettes.”

“Though liquor and cigarettes are allowed under the law, their manufacturers are expressly prohibited from advertising and marketing them, and even our GST regime treats them as demerit goods. The government imposes steep taxation on them to discourage people from consuming them,” he added.

“I strongly believe that the same regulations should apply to online games involving money. I am aware courts have upheld the legal validity of online games of skill, but there is no bar on the government from prohibiting advertising/marketing/texting by online gaming companies to lure people into playing these games by betting money,” he said.