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Gaming companies, AIGF approach Karnataka High Court against gambling ban

Gaming companies, AIGF approach Karnataka High Court against gambling ban
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
8 Oct, 2021

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), along with three online gaming platforms, has approached the Karnataka High Court to appeal against the state’s recent ban on betting and wagering apps. First reported by G2G, the appeals have been filed by Play Games24x7, which operates platforms RummyCircle and My11Circle, Gameskraft Technologies, which operates RummyCulture and Gamezy and Head Digital Works Private Limited, which operates A23.

The state’s controversial ban on such apps came into effect from October 5, after the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021 received the Governor’s assent. It seeks to ban platforms built around fantasy sports and gambling, including apps like RummyCircle, My11Circle, Dream11 and more. 

The new petitions challenge the constitutional validity of the new law and seek to remove games that are categorized as games of skill from the purview of the new Act. They have cited judgements from the Supreme Court and High Courts like the recent Madras High Court judgement in favour of gaming firm Junglee Games, which struck down a similar law in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Further, the law has also been opposed by industry bodies like the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). In a statement on September 21, the IAMAI noted that Karnataka has 92 gaming companies in Bengaluru who employ 4000 people and have received as much as Rs. 3000 crore from investors in the past three years. “IAMAI is of the view that the bill may hurt Karnataka’s position as the country’s startup hub and lead to the loss of jobs and revenue for the state,” the statement said.

According to G2G, “several senior advocates” may represent the gaming companies if the matter goes to court. Since gambling is a state subject in India, states are allowed to regulate such apps within their own borders. As with the Madras High Court order recently, a ruling in these cases could also have repercussions in future regulations in other states in India.