Karnataka Online Gaming Ban: AIGF and MPL petitions to be heard tomorrow

As reported earlier, a lawyer representing All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) today mentioned the writ petition filed by AIGF challenging the Karnataka gaming ban amendment before Justice Krishna S. Dixit of Karnataka High Court. A total of six petitions are filed so far against the amendment.

The final numbering of these petitions was delayed due to Dussehra vacation. Apart from the State of Karnataka, the petitioners have included the Department of Law (Karnataka), the Director-General of Police, the Commissioner of Police (Bengaluru), the Department of Home (Karnataka) as the respondents.

The AIGF matter is now listed tomorrow at item no. 42 before Justice Krishna S. Dixit. Another petition filed by Galactus Funware that operates under the brand name Mobile Premier League is also listed at item no. 43. The remaining petitions challenging the law will eventually be tagged along with the AIGF and MPL matters.

The petitions, citing a catena of Supreme Court and High Court judgments, including the recent landmark Madras High Court judgment (Junglee Games India Private Limited v. State of Tamil Nadu) striking down a law banning all online games for stakes submit that the right to carry on the activity of running online skill-based games for profit is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution and the new law imposing an outright ban on the activity is against all norms of proportionality.

Meanwhile, another public interest litigation has been filed before the Karnataka High Court seeking to prohibit the offering and playing of fantasy sports that are compliant with the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports, a self-regulatory industry body. The petitioner Saahil Nalwaya who has filed a similar petition before Rajasthan High Court has now sought to make it a criminal offence under the Karnataka Police Act. This petition got recently numbered.

The Nalwaya petition is also listed tomorrow before a division bench comprising of Chief Justice and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum as item no. 18.

(This is a developing story)