Karnataka: AIGF, Gaming Companies Move High Court Challenging Online Gambling Law

Karnataka: AIGF, Gaming Companies Move High Court Challenging Online Gambling Law

Chennai: The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), a skill gaming industry body, along with four other real-money gaming companies have moved the Karnataka High Court challenging the state government’s online gambling law that came into effect on October 5. 

According to a report in Moneycontrol, the firms, Mobile Premier League (MPL), Games24X7, A23 (Ace2Three) and Gameskraft along with the AIGF filed writ petitions before the High Court on Thursday. The petitioners challenged the constitutional validity of amendments made to the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act which had outlawed all forms of online games that are played with stakes. 

According to a statement in Inc42, Roland Landers, CEO of AIGF said that they had no issues with the state government tackling foreign gambling companies but the problem with the amendment was that it had unilaterally declared game of skill as tantamount to gambling if buy-in is involved. As this ban would harm the domestic online gaming industry, they had moved the court, he said. 

The amendment was made by the state government after public interest litigations were filed in the court seeking the prohibition of online gambling games.  

According to the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021 that was notified on October 5, all online games involving all forms of wagering or betting including those that valued tokens in terms of money or electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance are banned. 

The notification also states “any act or risking money on the unknown result of an event including on a game of skill”, according to media reports. 

In another scenario, recently, the Madras High Court had struck down the amendment made to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 that imposed ban on online games played with stakes. A similar act passed by the Kerala government to such online games was struck down by the Kerala High Court.