What it is as we talk: Is There a Light for Gambling in Karnataka?
The latest is Karnataka set to legislate gambling and betting. Here is a complete timeline of what is happening at the moment.
Karnataka has seen a lot of waves for the banning and legalising of Gambling since last fall. The main objection which the government is forwarding is that “ They have turned our youth into addicts, pushing them into a debt trap and other crimes,” said Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai at the Chief Minister’s Police Medal investiture ceremony at the Vidhana Soudha here on Friday. So what is really happening with the arena world and how is Bengaluru is coping with this commotion?
All this started with the year 2020 when the authorities made a strict note to stop the flourishing of online casinos. “Once the youth are addicted, we have seen cases where they get involved in various nefarious activities to fund their gaming addiction as well,” this was the statement of the Home Minister during the press conference which happened in 2020. This is not something that is clearly centred upon online platforms, horse bettings are also something that created a lot of fuss. The High Court of Karnataka has asked the State government’s “contradicting stand” on the same that there was no provision in law empowering it to grant permission to Bangalore Turf Club Ltd. (BTC) to conduct online betting for horse racing and that the BTC need not seek permission from the government for online betting. According to this statement, the government should withdraw the in-principle approval given to the BTC on June 29, 2020, allowing online betting or the court will have to quash it. “For instance, horse racing has now begun taking bets online. We need to identify the problem areas and define them properly in order to regulate the space effectively,” the official added. This is something which the Bench said orally while asking the government counsel to take clear instructions from the authorities.
Now cutting short to the present, Karnataka is set to legislate online gambling and betting. “In reference to a petition filed at the Karnataka High Court seeking to ban all forms of Online Gambling and Online Betting in the state, the court asked the government to have its stand in the matter. Subsequently, the State Government, on Tuesday, informed the court to bring legislation for regulating online gambling and betting in the state.” In such a scenario, according to the online rummy federation”, online rummy is not illegal and should not be prohibited and the federation wanted to be impleaded as respondents in the matter. With such a notion, the Court allowed the Federation to file their statement of objections to the petition within six weeks of time. Here what the authority says is “The bench has noted, “AGA seeks time on the ground that a proposal to have legislation is being placed before the cabinet. He seeks six weeks’ time. The state government shall place on record the decision taken by the cabinet while filing the statement of objections.”
When all these statements hang within the nuances of the regulatory body, the petitioner is saying that “it has deeply affected the vulnerable sections of society, particularly the youth”.
In addition to this, “However, what holds good for the game in the offline mode may not be true for the online mode. The State has not bothered to create any monitoring mechanism to ascertain whether the online rummy offered by various virtual gaming platforms. In fact, admittedly many other puritan games of chance are in vogue on the internet, which can be very easily accessible and played by persons of all age groups including children. However, the State has not taken any action to regulate the same.”
What holds now and what’s the current scenario?
The contemplation is still going on and it will reach its final hearing this March. Even in such a situation, online casinos like Pure Casino are popular in Karnataka. Since they offer games like Teen Patti and Andar Bahar, players are into the Indian vibe of slot playing. However, according to many senior officials, the entire tree of online gaming and gambling is fast turning into a social menace and it could not be entirely banned because of many limitations. Many of them were categorised as skill games and enjoy legal protection, the official said.
Since this online array of games and casino offshoots falls under many categories like ‘self-development and ‘education’ all cannot be easily squashed. This is the final take from the government.
What’s the final say?
Gambling in Karnataka is regulated by the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, and the national Public Gambling Act, 1867. As you can see, both of these laws are quite old, which is advantageous for us players and therefore, while the Information Technology Act, 2000, is in place to restrict access to offshore gambling sites from India, it doesn’t criminalize their use.