The court of Justice Krishna S Dixit will hear the petitioner for the purposes of considering interim relief gaming companies have sought.
All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has filed a petition challenging the Constitutional validity of the amendments to Karnataka Police Act, 1963. Other gaming companies too have moved the court challenging the law and seeking relief. The court will club the petitions and hear them.
Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi appeared for the state government and informed the court that the government will file a statement of objections by Wednesday. Senior advocate Arvind Datar appeared for the gaming federation.
The petitions have sought interim relief that includes a stay on the operation of the recent amendments to the Police Act relating to online gaming, and directions to the state government not to initiate proceedings under the provisions of the law during the pendency of the petition.
The petitioners have held that Madras High Court had recently struck down a similar law that tried to stop online skill gaming in Tamil Nadu.
The Karnataka government, on October 5, notified the law banning betting and wagering in online games after Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot gave his assent. The Karnataka Legislature had passed amendments to Karnataka Police Act, 1963 during its recent sitting.
The AIGF has said the southern state’s law has hurt the “legitimate online skill gaming businesses that have the right to trade.”
Karnataka’s amended Police Act bans online games that are “games of chance” in nature. The law reads: “gaming means and includes online games, involving all forms of wagering or betting, including in the form of tokens valued in terms of money paid before or after issue of it, or electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance.” The law, however, excludes lottery or wagering or betting on horse race.
Instruments of gaming, the law says, included any article used or intended to be used as a subject or means of gaming, including computers, computer system, mobile app or internet or cyberspace, virtual platform, computer network, computer resource, any communication device, electronic applications, software.
Mumbai-based fantasy gaming platform Dream11 has also separately challenged a case after the Bengaluru Police booked its founder Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth for allegedly running its gaming operations even after the new law was notified. The firm is pursuing a legal case seeking quashing of the FIR against the two cofounders.