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Karnataka HC Strikes Down State’s Online Gambling Law As Unconstitutional

Amid the months-long controversy, the Karnataka High Court, on Monday struck down the state’s online gambling law as unconstitutional.

In December 22, the High Court had reserved its judgement after concluding the hearings from a series of petitioners including industry gaming firms, associations and individuals who had challenged the constitutional validity of the law.

Skill gaming industry body All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), self-regulatory fantasy sports industry body Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), real-money gaming firms Mobile Premier League (MPL), Games24x7, A23(Ace2Three), Junglee Games, Gameskraft and Pacific Games, are among the petitioners who had moved the high court, amid the controversial law.

These petitions had challenged the constitutional legitimacy of revisions made to the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act that had prohibited all types of internet gaming where the move of money is involved.

The case was at first heard by a single-judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit and was subsequently moved to a division bench of Dixit and Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi. On December 22, the bench told the parties involved to file written submissions for any further arguments.

Meanwhile, in last year, voicing concern over youngsters getting hooked on mobile games, Rajya Sabha member and senior BJP chief Sushil Kumar Modi on Friday demanded that the federal government ought to regulate the online gaming industry and impose a uniform tax on it. Raising the difficulty throughout the Zero Hour, he stated these online video games have now given strategy to playing and betting.

The Union Ministry of Education earlier had circulated advisories. The ministry said that playing online games leads to a serious gaming addiction which has been considered a gaming disorder.

The ministry in a statement said that in the new era of technology, online gaming is very popular with children because of the challenges it brings to the players which excite them and make them play more which can lead to addiction.

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