Gaming Ban: Karnataka govt to appeal against the High Court verdict

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The Karnataka government is reportedly exploring options to appeal against the division bench verdict of the Karnataka High Court quashing provisions of online gaming ban law before the Supreme Court, according to a news report on Zee News Kannada. Home minister Araga Jnanendra said the decision is yet to reach the government and every action would be taken to challenge the decision.

On Monday, the Karnataka High Court became the second High Court in the country to quash a law targeted towards banning of online games. In August 2021, the Madras High Court quashed a similar law enacted by the Tamil Nadu government. The Tamil Nadu government challenged the Madras High Court decision before the Supreme Court by way of Special Leave Petition (SLP). The SLP has never been listed so far. In September, the Kerala High Court had struck down the notification banning online rummy.

If appealed, Karnataka would join the Tamil Nadu before the Supreme Court paving way for the Supreme Court to decide the legality of gaming ban laws that have enacted by Telangana, Andhra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. As on date, the cases challenging the laws enacted by Andhra and Telangana are pending before the respective High Courts. Several other states are also contemplating to enact online gaming ban legislations including Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra,

On February 11, the central government has informed Rajya Sabha that it is aware of the risks and harms associated with online gaming. Earlier in December 2021, the Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu called online games (referring to games like poker, rummy) a “big menace” and referred to them as “Kill games” and not “Skill games.” The Vice President directed the Minister for Electronics, Information, and Technology to examine the possibility of regulating them. The remark followed a discussion in the House initiated by former Bihar Deputy CM and Rajya Sabha member Sushil Kumar Modi where 21 members across party lines associated with the issue of the gaming menace.