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Karnataka HC nudges state govt on online gambling regulation: Report

The Karnataka High Court has once again nudged the state government towards making a decision on how the state will treat online betting and gambling services, LiveLaw reported. In February, the state government told the court in a submission that it would bring a law to regulate the industry.

The court’s nudge came in response to a petition that points to the regulatory vacuum with regards to online gambling. Sharada DR, the petitioner, had made a representation to the state government in September last year and followed it up in October with a reminder. But they did not receive a response. Subsequently the petitioner filed a petition with the high court, seeking a ban on online gambling and betting.

The state government said people from any part of the world can gamble online, and the matter might make the central government a necessary party. The high court shot this argument down, and directed the state government to decide on Sharada DR’s representation.

According to LiveLaw, the petitioner’s concerns are:

  1. High courts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have directed their states to explore regulation of online gambling.
  2. Karnataka has no mechanism to monitor whether any game or activity involves skill or chance. Offline rummy is a game of skill, but what holds true for games in offline mode may not be true for the online mode.
  3. Many games are in vogue, easily accessible, and played all children, in the absence of regulation.
  4. The pandemic has increased the usage of such services, leading multiple states of recently outlaw or regulate online gambling and betting. This includes a move by the Kerala government to outlaw online rummy.

The court also permitted impleading applications filed by All India Gaming Federation and The Online Rummy Federation.

Most recently, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala tightened laws around gambling, to bring online gambling within legal scope. Andhra Pradesh prohibited all games involving stakes, whether skill or chance based as did Tamil NaduKerala tweaked its gambling law to remove a provision that declares rummy as a game of skill. Other states, including RajasthanGujaratKarnatakaMadhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are also contemplating restrictions for online real-money games, gambling, and betting. Meghalaya has gone the opposite, it has created a licensing and regulatory regime permitting all games of skill and chance, in a bit to collect more tax revenue.

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