gaming: Karnataka govt tables bill to ban online gaming for profit and gambling | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The legislative assembly on Friday tabled a bill to ban online gaming for profit and online gambling to “wean them (people) away from the vice of gambling”.
The bill speaks, in specific, of amending what forms of online gaming or gambling is banned.
In its definition of online gaming which has been banned, the bill says: “Gaming, includes all forms of wagering or betting in connection any game of chance… including in form of tokens valued in terms of money paid before or after issue of it, or electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance…”
The bill, however, exempts lottery and wagering or betting on a horse race run on any race course within or outside the state.
Gaming for profit, will be banned whether it is played on a mobile application or on a computer which is located within the confines of a person’s home or at any cyber cafe.
The bill, as a deterrent for people to engage in gambling, has also increased the prison sentence of up to three years and/or up to Rs 1 lakh as fine.
The state government has justified the ban on online gaming for profit by claiming that the objective is to curb the menace of gaming through internet, mobile application and wean the people away from the vice of gambling.
Meanwhile, the assembly passed the prisoners identification bill amid concerns of breach of right to privacy and the setting up of prisoners development board, for monetising human resources among convicts, which was criticised by a section of opposition as being too “idealistic” for the state prisons.
As per the prisons development board initiative, the government intends to use the prisoners to prepare consumer and industry requirement products and monetise the available human resource.
Home minister Arga Jnanendra said the decision to set up the board was taken after taking into account similar such setups in Harayana and Punjab.
“In Harayana, the state government has been able to generate revenue worth Rs 600 crore annually and helped prisoners have a sizable sum stored away for the purpose of their future after being released,” said the minister.
The bill also speaks of monetising the vacant or old prison buildings which have been left unused.
However, a few opposition legislators criticised the move for being too far fetched.
“When we speak of setting up the prisoners development board, it is something which should not be considered under the current circumstances when the poor state of prison facilities and the lack of proper psychological care for prisoners is evident. In an ideal world, the setting up of a board would be well appreciated. However, when we are unable to even understand and prepare the prisoners for the future without mental health care it makes no sense to monetize the prisoners human resource,” said Congress MLA Ramesh Kumar.
Congress MLA Sharath Bacchegowda said that such initiatives by governments worldwide have been also criticised for the serious human rights violations conducted inside prisons, including the United States of America.
On the prisoners identification bill, the right to privacy of undertrials were raised by the opposition legislators, to which Jnanendra clarified that the collection of their blood samples, their hair follicles and Iris retina scan will be collected only for those who are convicted for a period of one month or more.
“It will, in effect, help the police track habitual offenders and close the cases faster,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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