The Karnataka legislature on Tuesday passed a bill amending the 1963 Karnataka Police Act to ban all forms of gambling in the state, including online gambling.
The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced by Interior Minister Araga Jnanendra and passed amid opposition skepticism about the police’s ability to combat the new forms gambling – including online sports betting, online gaming and poker.
The Home Secretary said the new law was needed as it became increasingly difficult for police to tackle gambling and betting amid a recent order by a High Court bench in the ‘Dharwad State – which banned police from raiding gambling dens.
“There is a lot of gambling using electronic devices and it needs to be controlled,” the Home Secretary told the Legislature when introducing the new bill.
The bill seeks to strengthen the provisions of the Karnataka Police Act to make gambling a knowable offense and not on bail and “to include the use of cyberspace, including computer resources or any communication device as defined. in the 2000 law on information technology in the gaming process to curb the threat of Internet gaming, mobile applications ”.
The amended law provides for a three-year jail term for gambling instead of one year and a fine of up to Rs a lakh. The law only exempts betting on horse races from the field of gambling.
“The major game is happening in an organized manner in many places,” said Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai.
Congress leader Ramesh Kumar said that no gambling activity could take place without the knowledge of the police and that efforts should be made to improve the capacity of the police to fight crime.