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The online gaming sector has revved up its engines against the Karnataka government’s ban on online gaming. On Monday, Junglee Games, the parent company of Junglee Rummy, became the sixth petitioner to challenge the law on which the state government has instituted the ban on online gaming. The company filed a writ petition at the Karnataka High Court, like those submitted earlier in the month by the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), three rummy operators, and the Mobile Premier League (MPL). Like the others, the one submitted by Junglee Games challenges the ban’s validity. The petitions have not been listed and are likely to be taken up for hearing next week.
Junglee Games operates three different gaming portals, the Junglee Rummy, Junglee Teen Patti, and the fantasy gaming site Howzat. In March, global gaming giant Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of PokerStars, acquired a 50.10% stake in the company. The petition was filed by Advocate Arjun PK on behalf of Junglee Games. The lawyer also represents Play Games24x7 and Head Digital Works in similar petitions.
With another operator joining the legal battle against the Karnataka government’s ban, the case for regulating the online games in the state has gained more impetus. Looking at recent favorable judgments by the Kerala and Madras High Courts, the gaming sector is eyeing similar relief in Karnataka.
Growing Voices Against the Ban
The latest petition by Junglee Games brings the total number of petitions against the new anti-gaming law to six, including AIGF, Game24x7, Ace2Three, Gameskraft, and MPL. The petitioners have challenged the constitutional premise basis which the state government of Karnataka brought in the requisite amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963.
Karnataka had indicated last November that it plans to ban online gaming. Faced with a diktat by the Karnataka High Court to clarify its stand on PILs filed against online gaming, the Karnataka legislative assembly had passed the controversial Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill 2021 on September 21.
Two weeks later, Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot approved the new law. The government then notified the law by publishing it on the official gazette, deeming all forms of real-money online gaming in the state illegal with immediate effect. Most online gaming operators, including Adda52 and MPL, restricted players from Karnataka on their site on October 8. Fantasy gaming behemoth Dream11 had continued to operate in the state but suspended operations after it was stamped by an FIR by a state resident.
In their petitions, AIGF and online gaming petitioners have named the state of Karnataka, the state Law and Home departments, DGP, and the Commissioner of Police as respondents. All the petitions will be listed before a single-judge bench expectedly in a week.
Keep following PokerGuru for more updates on this developing story.