Various State Government of India Have Begun Passing Legislation Prohibiting the Use of Online Gambling
Karnataka’s state government released the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, which prohibits all forms of online betting, wagering, and gaming in the state.
The change comes after the state government was ordered by the Karnataka High Court to hear a petition that sought to outlaw all forms of internet gambling and betting. The new law aims to reinforce the Karnataka Police Act by making gambling a cognizable and non-bailable offense, as well as addressing the threat of gaming via the Internet and mobile apps.
Additionally, it will also prohibit the operation of all types of online betting and gambling platforms in the state, including "games of skill" such as fantasy sports, rummy, and poker.
Playing online games that include "digital means and virtual currency [or] electronic transfer of monies in connection with any game of chance" has also been ruled prohibited by the government. The legislation does, however, include an exception for lottery and horse race betting. For first-time offenders, the amendment requires a $10,000 fine and six months in prison. It imposes a punishment of $15,000 and a year in prison for repeat violators.
Finally, the Indian Constitution classifies gambling as a "state" matter, hence regulations vary by state. As a result, internet betting games like rummy and fantasy sports have varying degrees of legality. On the legality of online games, several high courts have differing views. The Kerala High Court last month declared a rule forbidding online rummy to be unconstitutional. A similar rule passed by the Tamil Nadu government prohibiting online gambling was similarly set down by the Madras High Court in August 2021.