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Karnataka HC Orders State Not To Make Any Arrests Under New Gambling Law Poker
Amarylisa Gonsalves
Posted on 23 Oct, 2021
By Amarylisa Gonsalves
On 23 Oct, 2021
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By Amarylisa Gonsalves
On 23 Oct, 2021
Share

Karnataka HC Orders State Not To Make Any Arrests Under New Gambling Law


The Karnataka HC (High Court), on 22nd October ordered the state police not to make any arrests under the new gambling law introduced in the state. The new gambling law, which was passed by the Karnataka legislative assembly last month has faced severe backlash and legal opposition from online gaming firms.

During the same time last month, the Karnataka legislative assembly passed the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 1963 via voice vote. According to the bill, offenders will be fined up to ₹1 Lakh and can face imprisonment for a term of up to three years. The law had banned all variations of online gaming involving the transfer of money.

After the bill was passed, the Karnataka Police had filed an FIR against Dream11 cofounders Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth for continuing operations on its platform, earlier this month. It was the first case lodged under the new law. Reportedly, a similar case was filed against the online rummy platform SilkRummy.

ALSO READ: Karnataka Assembly Passes Bill Banning ‘Games of Chance’

Following the FIR, six online gaming firms including Mobile Premier League (MPL), Games24x7, A23(Ace2Three), Junglee Games and Gameskraft along with the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) challenged the law by moving to the High Court in this regard. The petition filed, questioned the constitutional validity of laws included in the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act

Advocate Arvind P Datar, who appeared before the court for the AIGF and the other gaming firms, told the court that similar law passed by Tamil Nadu was struck down by the Madras High Court. The Madras HC had stated that games of skill cannot be banned as a game of wager while striking down the law. Datar further argued that the new amendments do not fall in the scope of ‘gambling and betting’ under Entry 34 of the state list according to the constitutions. He also said that states do not have the power to ban online skill-based games.

Datar requested the single-judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit that no arrests should be made under the law as the law included provisions for arrests and FIRs. The request was accepted by Dixit, who ordered the Advocate General appearing for the state, not to make any arrests under the law. The petitions filed by the six firms will be bunched together and the case will be heard on 27th October 2021.

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