If sources are to be believed, the Government of Karnataka plans to finally enact the blanket ban on paid online gaming within two months. In the meantime, the local executive branch wants to supplement the Bill with pragmatic rules, taking into account all meaningful feedback. The move should allow the ban to be upheld by the High Court.
Police Bill to Take Shape in More Detail
Karnataka’s recently adopted Amendment on the 1963 Police Act has already been the subject of much debate. While the blanket ban on online games for money still leaves the tech industry puzzled, the State Home Minister has already confirmed that the Bill will soon be enacted in practice.
After governor assent, the authorities in Bengaluru will publish draft rules followed by a brief period of collecting objections and suggestions by various stakeholders. If the schedule is respected, within two months the law should go into full force.
The supplemental rules intend to clarify the Government’s position, not aiming to ban companies that offer skill gaming such as 10Cric Casino and online gambling in India. Rather, Karnataka seeks to ban “betting” on any online games, even those of skill. And while the gaming industry promises a legal battle, authorities believe they can fix any ill-defined parts and argue their point in High Court.
Online Gaming for Money Enjoys Huge Demand across the Nation
The online gaming sector is booming in India, as demand for online gambling and casual gaming is driven by the largest cities in the Union. At the start of the year, desi online gamers were estimated at around 400 million and they are likely to pass half a billion by the end of 2022.
Online gaming communities prefer local content, with languages and themes offerings served best by Bharat’s own gaming studios. The same companies, small and large, that will be directly impacted by the online gaming ban in Karnataka. Considering the importance of the tech startup culture in Bengaluru, it is surprising that the State government chooses to ignore the economic and social potential of the industry. Even more, it is sending mixed signals to investors and entrepreneurs choosing the local IT sector for its reputation and quality output.
The Karnataka government insists that the recent amendments are aligned with several High and Supreme Court decisions upholding the legality of skill games. But the sheer size of the market and variety of business models place many companies at risk. Their very existence is in question whenever a particular monetization scheme is not deemed acceptable (e.g. entry fees, prize pools, etc.).
Rules to Bring in Clarity
Hopefully, the detailed rules that authorities will provide for stakeholder review will introduce some clarity. Dealing with the gaming world in greater detail, they need to lay down procedures and provide clear and unequivocal definitions.
The legal difficulties in sorting out the gambling and gaming market have been an issue repeatedly brought up. Earlier this year, Karnataka High Court pointed out that the Government needs to provide specific legislation on dealing with a morally and economically sensitive sector.
As it stands, the blanket ban on paid online gaming will likely not stand. Encroaching on the legitimacy of skill games and a number of digital businesses, it foresees tall fines and prison sentences for something which has long been considered constitutionally legitimate.
Distinguishing between skill and chance, game types and hybrid genres, monetization options and prize schemes – all these are aspects which need to be adequately clarified in the rules for implementation of the Police Act.
(Note: In case of any doubt, TheYouth does not provoke or motivate or rncourage any of its readers to play games such as betting. It is only an informative article based on information collected from online sources. neither do we motivate to click any of the links on this web page or site. You can play the game only if it is legally allowed in your country/state and only if you and your age are considered okay in the eyes of laws. It must be noted such games involve both monetary losses and gains. Either you win or lose, TheYouth shall not be responsible under any circumstances.)