Karnataka online gaming ban: Law to be implemented in two months, says home minister Araga Jnanendra

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The Karnataka government intends to implement the new online gaming law as soon as rules are framed, home minister Aragra Jnanendra has confirmed. The minister’s remarks come on the back of the state assembly paving the way for major amendments to the Karnataka Police Amendment Bill last week.

The bill, which is currently awaiting the governor’s assent, is expected to become law within a span of two months after the government notifies draft rules under the amended first law and issues a final notification after incorporating suggestions and addressing concerns of all key stakeholders.

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“The government has started working on the rules. We want to implement it soon. We hope to implement it in about two months,” the minister told Economic Times.

The rules, as per the minister, will offer a great deal of clarity in terms of the procedural aspect of the law as well as its implementation. The rationale behind bringing in such a bill, the minister said, is the fact the younger generation is ‘wasting good money on betting, resulting in not just loss of income but also “illegalities and rowdyism” in society.

The amendments brought in by the government, the home minister said, have eliminated certain legal challenges that were preventing the State from combating gambling as defined by the Dharwad bench of the Karnataka High Court.

Reportedly, a string of gaming companies are preparing to challenge Karnataka’s new law in courts. In response to this development, Jnanendra claimed that the new amendments are in complete alignment with the past rulings in courts.

“Courts have allowed skill games and we have accepted it. But no court has allowed betting. So our law also allows online skill games but not betting or wagering on them,” the minister said, adding that the government is well-prepared to defend it if a legal challenge surfaces.

Bengaluru is home to several homegrown gaming entities including Sequoia Capital-funded Mobile Premier League. As many as 92 gaming companies are registered in the state capital, employing around 4000 people, and have attracted around Rs 3000 crores of investment in the last three years alone, according to the Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).