Bill seeking ban on online gaming, betting tabled in Assembly

From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network

Bengaluru, Sep 17: The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeking to ban online gaming or betting by amending the Karnataka Police Act of 1963, with maximum imprisonment of three years and penalty up to Rs 1 lakh was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Friday.

Home Minister Araga Jnanedra introduced the Bill, which aims at “banning online games, involving all forms of wagering or betting, including in the form of tokens valued in terms of money paid before or after issue of it. It banned electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance.’’

However, there is no provision for banning lottery or wagering or betting in horse races on any race course within or outside the State.

The main objectives of the Bill are to make effective enforcement of the provisions of the Police Act by making provisions as cognizable offence and non-bailable except section 87 (gaming in public streets), which is made cognizable and bailable.

Gaming includes the use of cyberspace, including computer resources or any communication device as defined in Information Technology Act, 2000 in the process of gaming, to curb the menace of gaming through internet, mobile app.

The punishment was increased from one year and penalty of Rs 1,000 to three years and Rs 3 lakh respectively for the orderly conduct of citizens and to wean them away from the vice of gambling.

In the case of first offence, punishment would be six months of imprisonment and fine of Rs 10,000.

In the second offence, the punishment would be one year of imprisonment and fine of Rs 15,000 and for the third offence, punishment would be 18 months of imprisonment and fine of Rs 20,000, the Bill said. It said persons aiding or abetting online gaming would also be punished.

The Bill said instruments of gaming included any article or intended to be used as a means of gaming, including computers, computer system, mobile app, or internet or cyberspace, virtual platform, computer network, computer resource, any communication device, electronic applications, software and accessory or means of online gaming, any document, register or record or evidence of any gaming in electronic or digital form, the proceeds of any online gaming as or any winning or prizes in money or otherwise distributed or intended to be distributed in respect of any gaming.

The Bill is expected to be debated next week in the Legislative Assembly.

The High Court of Karnataka has asked the State government to take a decision to put an end to online gambling. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already imposed a ban on online games.


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