Karnataka: Gaming ban hits Chess Association, gaming body seeks clarification

Published on:

Karnataka State Chess Association (KSCA), the apex body for chess in Karnataka, yesterday said that the recent ban on online gaming including the “game of skill” in the state government has adversely impacted the chess ecosystem in the State. “The ban has hindered corporate sponsorships, especially from online skill gaming companies affected by the bill, and in turn, has affected organizations like KSCA,” Mr. D.P Ananth, President, KSCA was quoted by Inc42.

The association said it has more than 6,000 registered players in the state and the ecosystem of the game in the state is in uncertainty as sponsorships are drying up. The Karnataka government notified the amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963 on October 5 to ban online ‘games of chance’. An offence would lead to imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of up to INR 1 Lakh.

Earlier this year, Tamil Nadu had enacted a law to prohibit games of skill when played for stakes as wagering or betting over the internet which was finally struck down by the Madras High Court. Tamil Nadu government has appealed before the Supreme Court against this decision.

We would request the honorable State Government to make necessary amendments to the law and help games of skills like chess to flourish in the state and the country,” Mr. D.P Anantha was quoted in media reports. Recently, IndiaTech, an industry body representing India’s consumer internet startups, unicorns, and investors wrote to the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) suggesting the framing of a ‘Code for Responsible Online Gaming’. Gaming unicorns Dream11 and MPL are members of IndiaTech.

The gaming ban law was challenged before the Karnataka High Court. A special bench headed by Chief Justice heard the matter at length and the next date of hearing is on 22 December. In the last hearing, the bench expressed its intention to conclude the hearing at the earliest and has directed the parties to file written submissions.

Dream11 which continued operations in Karnataka till October 9 was booked along with its co-founders Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth by the Annapoorneshwarinagar Police for violating the gaming law. The co-founders have approached the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR.