Real-money gaming startups started blocking access to residents in Karnataka after the state government notified the online gambling law with immediate effect on October 5.
Gaming platform Mobile Premier League (MPL), which hosts online tournaments across more than 70 mobile games, has updated its terms and conditions stating that people residing in Karnataka are prohibited from participating in any mobile games on the platform. Amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, which bans online gambling and betting was notified by the state government on Tuesday. The law which was passed in both the houses of Karnataka legislature in the recently concluded monsoon session provides for a maximum imprisonment of three years and fines of up to Rs 1 lakh for violations. The law has raised serious concerns in the gaming industry and is likely to be challenged in courts, as a similar law enacted by neighbouring Tamil Nadu was struck down by courts recently.
As per the law, “games means and includes online games, involving all forms of wagering or betting, including in the form of tokens valued in terms of the money paid before or after the issue of it, or electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance.”
The law imposes hefty fines and prison terms on violators and has been implemented amid growing concerns that online gaming platforms, like gambling, are addictive and can cause financial harm.