Karnataka HC asks govt to give timelines on cabinet decision for law on online gambling

Published on:

A division bench of the Karnataka High Court comprising of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ashok G. Nijagannavar once again came down heavily on the state government for its failure to spell out a proper policy for regulating or banning online gaming and gambling, in a public interest litigation filed by social activist Sharada DR seeking a ban or regulation of online gaming, including skill-based games such as rummy, fantasy sports, poker etc.

It may be remembered that on 29th June 2021, the court had directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit explaining why it had not abided by its earlier orders asking it to place on record the stand on online gaming and gambling.

ALSO READ: Senior Advocate Gopal Jain on policy challenges for India’s online gaming companies

In pursuance of the order, Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar filed an affidavit before the court stating that a draft Bill on the subject has been prepared for the consideration of the Cabinet and immediate steps will be taken to place it before the state legislature once it is approved by the cabinet.

Ravi Kumar further added that the delay in responding to the court was neither intentional or deliberate and that the state government conducted deliberations with various departments and legal experts before drafting the Bill.

The court however noted that the Chief Secretary’s affidavit did not delineate the clear stand of the state government and neither spelt out timelines by which a decision on the same would be taken.

ALSO READ: Games24x7’s Bhavin Pandya on India’s online gaming industry, laws and future strategy

Sridhar Prabhu, the advocate representing the petitioner stated that the state government is shying away from taken a stand on the issue since the last one year despite court’s orders on numerous occasions.

Ultimately, based on the assurance of the Additional Advocate General representing the state government, the court granted two weeks’ time to the state government to give timelines by which the draft legislation on online gaming and gambling will be placed before the cabinet for approval. The matter is now scheduled to be heard again on 26th July 2021.