The Karnataka Assembly on Tuesday, September 21, passed an amendment to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, seeking a ban on online 'games of chance'. The state's Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, however, announced that the proposed law does not prohibit online games that meet with the requirements of 'game of skill' features.
Home Minister Araga Jnanendra had introduced the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021. It was passed despite the Opposition's doubt in police's capabilities in tackling new ways of gambling which includes sports betting, poker among others.
Strict Action Against Persons Operating Such Games
Basavaraj said that the state government will deal strictly with owners and their accomplices who operate such games in the names of 'games of skill'. Apart from that, even the skill games which have a risk of the player losing money would be dealt with strictly, the Chief Minister said. The development comes after the Karnataka government had received various complaints regarding cyber fraud.
While responding to a query from Sharath Bachegowda, MLA from Hoskote, Basavaraj said foreign operators of online gambling cannot run their business freely if the local operators are caught and punished, The Economic Times reported.
The bill captures the latest developments in technology and describes all types of electronic devices like smartphones, tablets and computers, making sure no gaps exist. It describes banned online games as "any act or risking money… on the unknown result of an event, including on a game of skill".
Prison Term Of Three Years
As per the bill, operating and sheltering such games will invite a prison term of three years and a fine of ₹ 1 lakh for offenders.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA and former IT Minister Priyank Kharge said the bill lacks clarity and does not distinguish between games of skill and games of chance.
"The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021 has not been thought out by the Govt. If it intends to ban gambling/betting it should distinguish between a game of skill and a game of chance, which is not reflected in the bill," he tweeted.