Karnataka Government Instructed By High Court To Consider Ban On iGaming

Karnataka Government Instructed By High Court To Consider Ban On iGaming December 7, 2020 December 7, 2020 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry December 7, 2020 by Carolyn Dutton

KarnatakaThe southern state of Karnataka in India is known as the silicon valley of India because it is the hub to some of the biggest IT companies in India and also has a vast IT workforce that works out of the city of Bengaluru.

A lot of these young techies spend lots of time playing online casino games from their laptops and mobile phones. They have no shortage when it comes to selection as offshore gaming operators have flooded the Indian market offering online slots, classic table games like poker, rummy and teen-patti.

Live casino games have also witnessed an increased in popularity as the younger generation in Karnataka want to experience what it’s like playing face to face with a live dealer. During the last few years, there has been a spike in the number of players enjoying real money online casino games.

A public interest litigation (PIL) was recently filed in the High Court of Karnataka calling for a ban on online gambling and sports betting activities. The petition was filed by one Sharada DR who is based out of Davanagere.

The petitioner claims that Karnataka does not have proper laws in place to regulate online gambling and to protect players in the state. The petition points out that offshore gaming operators can easily exploit payers in Karnataka and leaves the door open for money laundering, tax evasion and discrepancies with foreign exchange policies.

The PIL was heard by the division bench presided by Justice S. Vishwajith Shetty and Chief Justice Abhay Shreeni was Oka. The court decided to issue a notice to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state government and ordered them to look into the matter and make a decision.

Karnataka Could Follow Tamil Nadu

The neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu faced a similar PIL a few months earlier. The PIL also highlighted that the number of gambling related suicides in Tamil Nadu has increased and pushed for the court to take action immediately. The court sent a similar notice to the Tamil Nadu government and gave them two options.

Implement a gambling framework that properly regulates the iGaming industry in Tamil Nadu and offer players better protection. The second alternative was to ban online gambling completely. The TN government decided to institute a complete ban on online gambling.

Will the Karnataka government decide to roll out a gambling framework or will it follow Tamil Nadu and ban online gambling completely? We will have to wait and see in the coming weeks.

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world