India: Powerful lobby behind online gambling industry: Says Bengaluru Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday expressed helplessness in implementing a stringent law to ban online gambling in the state, pointing out that the Karnataka High Court had initially ordered a stay and had later struck it down. “There is a lobby behind this. We had done our groundwork and made laws,” he said. The CM also noted that if the police conduct raids and arrest the culprits, they come out on bail by evening.

The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, was passed by the legislature in September 2021, banning online games. The amendment came into effect from October 5, 2021. The same month, the All-India Gaming Federation moved the Karnataka High Court, challenging the validity of the amendment prohibiting and criminalising playing games of skill, including online games, by risking money or otherwise. In February this year, the High Court  struck down certain amendments made by the State Government. During the debate on the budget, former Speaker and senior Congress leader K R Ramesh Kumar expressed concern over betting during IPL cricket matches and said it was going out of control