Online gaming

No rushing action against online gaming companies at this time; The Advocate General assures the High Court of Karnataka


Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi orally assured the court on Thursday that no hasty action would be taken against online gaming companies at this time.

The oral statement was made before a single chamber of Judge Krishna S Dixit, which hears a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021, by which the state government banned all online gambling and betting, and provides for a jail term maximum of three years and a penalty of up to Rs 1 lakh for violation of the provisions.

Lead counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for a petitioner continued his submissions today. Relying on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case RMD Chamarbaugwalla he said: “Can Karnataka law change the conditions outlined in Chambarbugwalla. If the competence is excluded from the competence of the state, how is an act of the state going to change that basis ever, by an act of the state, it is not possible.

Further, he said, “Paternalism is tightly matched, that’s not a good thing. Wherever it is needed, it’s tightly matched. It’s proportional. The footprint is small. It is. very rarely banned and it is highly regulated. “

He added: “Even prostitution is not prohibited, only the activities surrounding it are prohibited. Even classified drugs are not prohibited. But here skill games are prohibited because at the end of the game you have to exchange money on the outcome.

He reiterated that “skill and chance are two sides of a watershed. You can’t stop skill games and skill is not within the skill of list 2 entry 34. Skill doesn’t mean 100% skill, predominance is enough. However, the state of Karnataka turns this around and includes a game of skill. If entry 34 says the skill game is not included, then why the state of Karnataka includes skill games that are contrary to the judgments of SC.

Seeking provisional measures by suspending the contested amendment law, Singhvi submitted “How many cases your lordship has seen that has 70 years of case law and 5 Supreme Court rulings and two high court rulings. If not This is not a prima facie case, so what is a prima facie case. All issues are covered by these judgments if not prima facie, then that is prima facie. “

Further, he said: “Why shouldn’t the court allow online rummy with all its guarantees. The Online Rummy Federation (TORF) is a worldwide organization. It has various strict technical standards. The restrictions involved are such that you cannot play with the system. Today therefore, the prima facie case is established and the balance of convenience is established. “

After which the court asked a question, saying: “If I grant an interim order and thousands of people play and tomorrow I reject your request, will the player be subject to criminal liability?”

Singhvi said, “There is a pre-act stay situation when everyone was playing. Your Lordship just keeps it hanging, it continues the status quo that was already there before the act. Second, the seigneury does not create anything, it only allows online gaming to continue in accordance with established secular laws and charters and rules and regulations. “

Senior lawyer Sajan Poovayya appearing for some of the petitioners asserted that “the state does not have the legislative competence to enact such a law. In addition, under entry 26, the state can only regulate and not completely ban online gaming. “

He even pointed to the order granted by another bench that prevented the police from taking coercive action against Bhavit Sheth and Harsh Jain, the founders and directors of Sporta Technologies Private Limited, which promotes the “Dream” gaming app. 11 ”. He argued that “Some companies that are not in this court challenging the law are still continuing to operate. While the petitioners have geo-fenced their applications.” To which the court declared that “the Advocate General has given oral assurance that no precipitous action will be taken”.

Questions will then be heard after the Diwali holiday.

Case title: Indian Gambling Federation v. Karnataka State

Case n °: WP 18703/2021


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