Karnataka legislative assembly passes a bill to ban online gambling

Instead of a one-year jail term and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, this amended law prescribes a three-year jail term for gambling. However, the law exempts only bets on horse races from the purview of gambling.

To ban all forms of gambling, the Karnataka legislative assembly passed a bill to amend the Karnataka Police Act, 1963 on Tuesday. This ban also extends to all forms of online gambling on sports, online gaming and poker.

Introduced by Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was passed amid the opposition’s criticism on police’s capabilities in tackling new forms of gambling.

This new bill aims to strengthen provisions of the Karnataka Police Act to make gambling a cognisable and non-bailable offence and “include the use of cyberspace including computer resources or any communication device as defined in the Information Technology Act, 2000 in the process of gaming to curb the menace of gaming through the internet, mobile apps”.

The home minister said that this new law is a very important step to curb down the gambling and betting practices in the state. He also acknowledged the recent order from a bench of the state high court at Dharwad which tied hands of the police from carrying out raids on gambling dens. This order of the bench has made the efforts of the police department very difficult to exercise against the practices of increased gambling around the whole state.

“There is a lot of gambling happening using electronic devices and this has to be controlled,” the home minister told the legislative assembly while introducing the new bill as quoted by The Indian Express. Instead of a one-year jail term and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, this amended law prescribes a three-year jail term for gambling. However, the law exempts only bets on horse races from the purview of gambling.

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