Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi argued in favour of the amendments made to the Karnataka Police Act while defending the state, labelling online gambling to be dangerous to public order at the Bengaluru High Court on Wednesday, December 1. The hearing was scheduled after several corporations and entities including the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports filed a petition against the legislation on account of its overarching impact on the online gaming industry.
Navadgi stated that the government was responsible for ensuring proper social order in the state, thereby enabling it to pass the law which aims to protect the same as reported by the Times of India. He went on to cite the prohibition of liquor which was upheld by the High Court, claiming the issues presented by online gaming were even worse than alcohol.
Further, the Advocate General informed the government of the ‘gigantic challenge’ of regulating the sector, considering the ease of access it allows where a user only requires a mobile phone to indulge in gambling. Referring to the decision to exclude betting on horse races form the law’s ambits, Navadgi explained how it was a seasonal activity whereas online gambling took place throughout the calendar year.
“In physical gambling, the stakes are limited. Here, everything is online and can be operated from anywhere. I am told that it is difficult to detect the servers as well. The payments are through online banking and there are instances wherein entire bank accounts have been wiped out, “ he added.
The apex court found the arguments to be inconclusive, adjourning hearings through a later date. As of December 23, the division bench comprising chief justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and justice Krishna S Dixit had beckoned the parties involved to give in their written submissions while reserving the verdict for the time being.