Karnataka HC strikes down law banning online gambling; calls it 'unconstitutional'

Karnataka HC| Photo: Mathrubhumi

Bengaluru: Karnataka High Court on Monday struck down the amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 2021, which had banned online gambling and stated that "it was unconstitutional."

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Krishna S Dixit said that nothing in the judgment shall be construed to prevent an appropriate legislation in accordance with the Constitution.

The bench declared certain provisions of the Karnataka Act number 28/2021, to the extent the provisions pertaining to regulate online gaming activities, to be ultra vires to the Constitution of India.

"The consequences of striking down the provisions shall follow. However, nothing in this judgment shall be construed to prevent an appropriate legislation be brought about concerning the subject of betting and gambling, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. A writ of mandamus is issued restraining the respondents from interfering with online gaming business and allied activities of the petitioners," the bench said.

The state government by amending the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, had prohibited and criminalised playing of games of skill including online games by risking money or otherwise. The petitioners, including All India Gaming Federation, claimed that games such as poker, chess, rummy, fantasy sports are all games of skill and various court orders have categorically differentiated games of chance and games of skill. ANI

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