NEW DELHI: The gaming industry is planning to legally challenge Karnataka assembly’s decision to ban online gaming, and the state government’s move is likely to see companies move out operations from tech city Bangalore — seen as a top game development hub — to other IT cities such as Hyderabad, Pune, Noida and Gurgaon.
The move by the Karnataka has come as a shocker, especially as Bangalore has always been seen as the focal point of India’s IT prowess, innovation with abundance of cutting-edge manpower.
A ban in Karnataka, which some say houses nearly 100 gaming companies, is a body-blow to the gaming industry which is still in its infancy in India. The industry is even more surprised as the move comes weeks after the Tamil Nadu HC had struck down a decision of the state government to ban online gaming.
The key concern of various governments with regard to gaming comes through apprehensions that it is promoting gambling, though there have been various judgments in the past — including in the SC — that have approved of ‘skill-based gaming’ against ‘chance-based’ play.
“It is all the more distressing that this decision has been taken by Karnataka, which hitherto was the startup and tech capital of India,” Dinker Vashisht, corporate affairs head at Games 24X7, told TOI.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) said that the bill to ban gaming had been drafted “without considering the various legal and constitutional positions”. The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) said the move “appears to be misguided”.