Industry welcomes Karnataka HC’s lifting of ban on online gambling

The Karnataka High Court on Monday annulled portions of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, that criminalise betting on and playing skill games, including those played online, as unconstitutional.

It was last year that the Karnataka legislature approved a law making all types of gambling, including online gambling, a cognizable and non-bailable offence.

The ban on what has been widely perceived as the “sunrise sector” was criticized by the gaming industry in general.
The industry has whole-heartedly welcomed the HC verdict.
PlayerzPot Co-Founder Mitesh Gangar said: “It is a major relief by Karnataka High Court and will pave the way for all brands to start its operations in Karnataka. The state contributed to a sizable chunk of user base and revenue for us and this ban uplift will allow our users to come back to skill-based gaming. Gaming is growing day by day in India and such positive impact decisions will help the industry to grow at an accelerated rate. We believe that in drafting any regulations the stakeholder of the business should get a fair opportunity to put forward their point to avoid any similar bans ahead. The future of gaming in India is bright and this ruling is in favour of the anticipated growth trends of the industry. Lastly, we are keeping our firm footing for being a responsible gaming and will endeavor to maintain it.”

Welcoming the verdict, FIFS Chairman Bimal Julka said: “While we wait for the detailed judgement copy to analyse it minutely, on behalf of India's fantasy sports ecosystem, I would like to thank the Hon'ble High Court of Karnataka for its positive judgment on India’s fantasy sports industry today. The verdict is a welcome news for all the sports fans in India, the biggest market for Fantasy Sports globally, with 13 Crore+ users playing across 200+ platforms. This judgement follows other positive judgements given by Hon’ble High Court’s of states such as Punjab & Haryana, Rajasthan, Bombay that recognised Fantasy Sports as games of skill and a legitimate business activity protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India. The view has been further upheld by the Hon'ble Supreme Court multiple times. In light of the above, we look forward to working with the government of Karnataka in line with the recent budget announcement and the Central Government's vision to set up an AVGC task force to encourage Indian entrepreneurs in the Fantasy Sports sector. As FIFS, we will continue to ensure a safe experience for sports fans in Karnataka and India, and enable responsible growth of the industry."

Puneet Singh, Co-founder and COO, Baazi Games Baazi Games Pvt Ltd, said: "It’s a great day for the RMG industry. This segment is being recognised again and again especially from top judicial institutions of the country. Even the central government has been showing support to the gaming industry as seen in the recent budget presented by the Hon’ble FM. I am sure all state governments will also support the industry to realize its true potential, both for employment opportunities and revenue generation which can also be a big contributor to the GDP. This will also boost the investor sentiment towards the segment.”

Zupee spokesperson said: "The recent Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka order striking down the ban against online gaming and for restraining action against online gaming businesses and allied activities sets a positive atmosphere for business growth and would help in creating made in India for the world products. The judgment makes clear the intent of new India where, misgivings, misinformation or personal reservations should not get in the way of innovation, growth, and rule of law. At Zupee we strongly believe that this verdict by the Hon’ble High Court provides the gaming industry a much need secure environment to accelerate its growth and expansion in the southern states. As most gaming enterprises in India are start-ups, it will encourage entrepreneurial spirit and reassure investor confidence in the Indian market.

India is at the forefront of gaming innovation and we have a chance to become a global gaming hub, and a secure and facilitative policy ecosystem is crucial to achieving that. Prior to Karnataka, the Kerala and Madras High Courts also struck down the bans against online gaming, providing hope to what is now considered the “sunrise sector” in India to commit fully to helping India achieve the 1-trillion-dollar digital economy dream by 2025. This judgment also reasserts the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s view that online skill-based games are perfectly legal businesses and should be allowed to run, grow and expand as would any other legitimate business.

It is important to note that most of the online Skill gaming companies are already complying with all national and state laws and regulations and will continue to do so. We would like to thank the Hon’ble High Court for providing much-needed legal clarity on the issue and look forward to resuming services in the start-up capital soon and ensuring that people there can also enjoy our games.”


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