ndia’s Karnataka Cabinet decided on Saturday, September 4 to ban online gambling by amending the Karnataka Police Act, 1963. However, online lottery and betting on horse races happening within or outside the state will not be prohibited. 

The cabinet approved a draft of the amendment bill, which will be taken to the House during the legislature session commencing September 13. The decision follows a direction from the Karnataka High Court asking the State Government to take a stand on online gambling. 

As reported by The New India Express, the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister JC Madhuswamy said that the amendment of the Karnataka Police Act has the intention “to put an end to online gambling, on the basis of the high court’s directions”.

“The draft Bill defines online games as games involving all forms of wagering, 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, also electronic transfer of currency in connection with any game of chance”. 

The draft involves “any act of risking money on the unknown result of an event, including on a game of skill, playing any game or by any third parties”. 

Madhuswamy added that the instrument of gaming includes any article used or intended to be used, including computers, computer systems, mobile apps, internet or cyberspace, virtual platforms, software and accessories. 

According to The New Indian Express, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, the police could raid places where playing cards and other gambling activities took place. 

“The police do not have powers under existing laws to take action against online gambling. We need to strengthen the law and that is the reason we are amending Karnataka Police Act”, Jnanendra further explained. 

“We have a panel of experts and we will take action against online gambling sites. There is a need to bring strict rules and penalty clauses”, he added. 

This July, Chief Secretary P Ravikumar filed an affidavit before a division bench of the High Court in response to the direction issued to file a statement of objection on a PIL filed by DR Sharada. The chief secretary submitted that a draft Bill has been prepared for the consideration of the Cabinet after consultations with various departments and legal experts. 

This affidavit stated that as soon as the Cabinet approves the draft, the Home Department will take the necessary steps to place it before the legislature. Soon after taking over, he had instructed senior police officials to control this menace and other activities on the dark web and drug trafficking. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala have already banned online rummy. 

Tamil Nadu passed the law last year when it found that many people had committed suicide after losing money on online gaming sites. 

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