Karnataka IT Minister suggests online gaming companies should earn from ads

Published on:

The passage of the Karnataka Police Amendment Bill had the real money gaming sector reluctantly bidding adieu in a scrambled manner with a host of operators making various attempts to survive the repercussions. Post the ban, multiple organizations and operators from the gaming industry have filed petitions against the bill that was aimed at eliminating the menace of gambling.

Karnataka High Court may well be taking cognizance of the petitions but recently Karnataka’s IT Minister Dr. CN Ashwathnarayan made it amply clear that they have no plans of retracting the seemingly-dubious amendments in the new policy.

In a big setback to the online gaming sector, the doctor-turned politician in an exclusive interview to Business Today dismissed arguments related to investment losses by start-up firms, suggesting that gaming companies should instead rely solely on advertisements for revenues.

ALSO READDream11 co-founders approach Karnataka High Court against FIR under online gaming ban law

When asked by Business Today about whether or not the government will revisit their decision to put a ban on online gaming since it has affected tons of start-ups, he answered, “We appreciate all, but there should not be any betting or gambling. In a skill game also, there should not be any betting. There shouldn’t be any kind of financial transaction. The revenue should be based on advertisement. We have been encouraging our start-up companies and providing a lot of incentives. There are many more opportunities for them in animation, etc.”

While the Supreme Court has made a clear distinction between a game of skill and a game of chance which is crystallized by the recent GST council’s decisions around taxing the two differently, the minister seemed firmly opposed to the idea of any rollback and called ‘gambling’ a social problem.

He added, “We as people’s government realized that it is not good for the society or good for the people. Whatever amendments we could bring in as per the request of the industry, we have brought in that.”

Online gaming operator’s battle to get the ban lifted appears to be a Sisyphean task as recently a division bench of the Karnataka High Court comprising of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Sharada DR that sought a ban or appropriate regulatory regime for online gaming and gambling.