Banning online gambling is easier said than it is done

Banning online gambling is easier said than it is done

Unless sites are blocked by Centre, crackdown will be tough, claim officials

Karnataka will join its southern neighbors in bringing in legislation to ban online betting and gambling in the upcoming Legislature session starting on Monday, 18 October 2021.

While the law will provide stringent punishment for those flouting the ban if they are caught, enforcing such a ban and monitoring the Internet is easier said than done, senior police officers admitted. Another hurdle is limited resources to tackle cyber crime.

“The only way we can enforce a ban is to write to the Union government to block gambling websites and apps. Karnataka will also write to them with a list of portals and apps to be blocked once the law is in place,” said a senior police official.

However, online gambling has not been banned across the country yet.

Telangana was one of the first States to ban online gambling with a law in 2017. So far, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh brought laws and amendments to ban online gambling in the last one year alone.

However, the Madras High Court in August this year scrapped the amendments the Tamil Nadu government had brought in to ban online gambling.

The proposed ban in Karnataka is also expected to face a legal challenge by a host of rummy and poker portals that have mushroomed recently.

Unless there is a national policy on the issue, blocking these portals will be difficult. If they are not blocked, the laws by State governments will only help them penalise and punish gamblers and organisers, not completely free the State of the menace, a senior police official with a long experience in fighting economic and cyber crimes said.

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