The government of the Indian state of Karnataka in December 2021, decided to amend the State Police Act of 1963.
According to The Hindu Times, the document defines online gambling as games that “include all forms of betting, such as monetary value tokens paid before or after their release, or electronic funds and virtual currency, as well as wire transfers and funds in connection with any gambling.”
At the same time, according to the content of the draft law, lotteries and horse races will be exempted from the ban.
Karnataka's decision to ban online gambling follows similar steps taken earlier this year by the governments of the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, although the Madras High Court recently overturned the Tamil Nadu Gambling and Police Law as "excessive and disproportionate."
Karnataka notest that games that require skills will not be banned, although the laws are pretty vague in India when we talk about online gambling. The majority of online games including slots, poker, french roulette, European roulette, American roulette and others will be prohibited, but it is not yet clear what they mean by skill-based games.
In India there are strange laws with 2 of the most famous Asian games: Teen Patti and Pai Gow Poker. Technically, they are not illegal and numerous online casinos offer these games to customers, but as they contain the elements of luck, likely they will not be available for playing in Karnataka.
The Indian government has been against companies that provide online gambling for several years. One of the main reasons is to protect people from the suicide and harm that online gambling does.
According to the new decree, in the listed states, electronic transfer of funds to the account of a gambling company is prohibited. Electronic payments for players are also prohibited. All these procedures are under the special control of the local authorities and those who were noticed with such transfers are brought to justice.
According to the Karnataka government, there are heavy lawsuits against online gaming in many local courts. They argue that people on the Internet (especially young people) are simply cheated into large sums of money. In addition, such games cause mental changes in the body of most people. Gambling players are becoming closed personalities. They also suffer from insomnia and fight obesity. That’s why the Karnataka Legislature will soon update the 1963 state gambling law. All that remains to be done is to give a formal consent to the governor of the state.
India is not the only country that fights against gambling. For example, in Russia every year the rules for running a gambling business are also being tightened up. Despite all the limitations, this does not prevent players to visit famous platforms and make money playing different games.
What will happen after? When the law comes into force, online gambling and sports betting will be completely banned in Karnataka. Violation of the law is punishable by up to 3 years in prison or a $1,350 fine. However, there are thoughts that people will still find ways to access different online casinos and try out various games through different means. At the same time, it is anticipated that the popularity will still grow.
There is no doubt that the recent ban will have a certain outcome on the Indian citizens and companies, however there are widespread thoughts that things will take another direction.
Karnataka was basically known for hubs that offer customers gambling services. Generally, there are many fresh startups that want to establish themselves in the state but considering the latest restrictions and the ban from Karnataka, they are afraid to continue operation. A lot of gambling companies have made Karnataka their headquarters. As almost every state has its own regulations and laws when it comes to gambling, companies require a specific regulatory framework.
The gambling business is getting more popular anyway
Of course, not all Indian states are willing to accept such regulations. The first administrative territories to legalize gambling were the territories of Goa, Daman and Diu. Later, a similar law was passed in the state of Sikkim, according to which online casinos are officially allowed.
Although gambling is allowed in these states, it is also subject to various restrictions. For example, in Sikkim, online gambling companies are only allowed to operate on certain days of the week. Online casino players are only allowed to play blackjack, poker or roulette games.
There are certainly times when gambling is bad for people. But no one forbids not to play them. On the other hand, the legalized gambling business brings a lot of income to the local budget. As a matter of fact, because of this, in some states, there is no complete ban on gambling.
If we will not look at the issue purely from a revenue perspective, legalizing gambling and will be eventually better for Indian players as their security and privacy will be protected.