Karnataka High Court Overturns State Law Banning Online Gambling Games

The order will provide relief to the skill-based gaming firms that had shut down operations in Karnataka.

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The Karnataka High Court on Monday struck down certain provisions of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021, under which the state government has banned online games with monetary stakes, according to LiveLaw.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Krishna S Dixit, reportedly declared the provisions in question to be ultra vires to the constitution, that is, enacted without any authority to do so.

The Act provided maximum imprisonment of three years and penalty up to Rs 1 lakh for violating the provisions. The order will provide relief to the skill-based gaming firms that had shut down operations in Karnataka.


Court Calls for 'Appropriate Legislation'

"The consequences of striking down the provisions shall follow. However, nothing in this judgement shall be construed to prevent an appropriate legislation from being brought about, concerning the subject of betting and gambling in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution," the bench clarified.

The Kerala High Court had struck down a law banning online rummy last year. Earlier, the Madras High Court had overturned a law passed by the Tamil Nadu assembly banning all kinds of online games, including skill-based games like poker and rummy, played for stakes.

According to Indian laws, betting on games of chance is illegal whereas betting on games of skill is legal. It can be tricky to determine whether a game falls under a chance or skill categories.

A ruling by Supreme Court holds that rummy cannot be classified as a game of chance like three-card games such as flush and brag, because rummy needs players to have a certain level of skill when it comes to memorisation.

Several state governments including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana ,Tamil Nadu and Punjab governments have imposed bans on online gambling apps stating ‘legislative ambiguity’.

(With inputs from LiveLaw)

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Topics:  KARNATAKA   Karnataka High Court   Gaming 

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