Karnataka online gaming ban: AIGF and MPL petitions to be next heard on 27 October

The writ petitions filed by AIGF and Mobile Premier League challenging the recent amendments to Karnataka Police Act, 1963 came up for hearing today before Justice Krishna S. Dixit at item no. 42 and 43 respectively. Senior Counsel Arvind P. Datar appeared on behalf of AIGF.

At the outset, Mr Datar referred to the Madras High Court judgment which struck down a similar law in Tamil Nadu banning games of skill. He submitted that the law passed is outside the ambit of ‘gambling and betting’ under Entry 34 of the state list and as such states have no legislative competence to prohibit online skill-based games. 

It was further submitted that the regulation of online gaming activity may come under telecommunications and could be regulated by the union government. He also referred to the 276th Report of the Law Commission of India to support his arguments. 

AIGF further informed about the apprehension of arrests and FIRs against companies and requested that no arrests be made by the police. The judge asked the Advocate General appearing on behalf of the State of Karnataka to accede to this request.

Mr Datar also informed that there are other petitions also challenging the law and all connected matters be heard together.  The matters now stand adjourned and will be heard on Wednesday (October 27).

A total of six petitions are filed so far against the amendment. On October 8, G2G was the first to report that AIGF and three other entities have approached the Karnataka High Court against the gaming law amendment.

The petitions, citing a catena of Supreme Court and High Court judgments 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.