Karnataka is set to follow its neighbouring state Tamil Nadu in banning online gambling websites. The state’s home minister Basavaraja Bommai has said that online games will be banned in Karnataka very soon as people are losing their hard-earned money due to this addiction.
In October another South Indian state Andhra Pradesh had requested IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to direct internet service providers (ISPs) to block 132 websites supposedly engaged in online real money gaming.
Meanwhile, Karnataka’s home minister also said many complaints came from the parents and others about the online games and the state was seriously thinking of banning online gaming which has become a sort of gambling.
“Students, kids, boys, girls are involving themselves very much and even elders as well spending a lot of money to play online games, which has become a sort of gambling,” Bommai told ANI.
“Through online games, many families are losing their income and that’s why the state government is seriously thinking about banning online games,” he added.
Online games will be banned after taking suggestions from other states which have already banned them and a meeting will be held with the senior officials and related departments to take their suggestions, the state home minister said.
Reading The Rule Book On Online Skill-Based Gaming
Since the 1960s, Supreme Court judgements have held that games such as poker and rummy have a dominant element of ‘skill’, which trumps the element of ‘chance’, hence ruling that both games are skill-based card games and as such, should be exempted from the anti-gambling regulations even when played for money.
However, given that gambling is a state subject, different states have framed their laws, some of which have outrightly banned all real money card games. These include Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha, where there’s a blanket ban on card games played for stake.
In states such as Sikkim and Nagaland, while the respective state governments have excluded the staking of money on games of skill from the ambit of gambling, the operators of online portals for such games are mandated to get licenses for conducting such games within state boundaries.
Besides the fact that the Public Gambling Act, 1867, the centre’s enactment on the subject, is outdated since it doesn’t take into account gaming or gambling in the virtual space, a section of the populace that refuses to delink ‘gaming’ and ‘gambling’ has also been dogging the online gaming industry’s growth.