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Fantasy sports gaming app blocks access to Karnataka state users in aftermath of "gaming ban"

Samiksha Malvade

6th October, 2021: Sequoia Capital-funded Mobile Premier League (MPL) was among the first few gaming startups that began obstructing access to users in the Indian state of Karnataka on Wednesday following a ban on online gaming. The law, which came into effect late on Tuesday, bans online games involving betting and wagering, and "any act or risking money, or otherwise on the unknown result of an event including on a game of skill". An industry source had told Reuters earlier that Karnataka is an important state for the gaming business and account for a huge market share of the total business for Fantasy Sports Gaming Start-ups.

The Karnataka high court is currently receiving petitions by The All-India Gaming Foundation against the ban which comes into effect on the 27th of October. The federation opposes the inclusion of online games of skill in gambling as mentioned in the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill of 2021. It makes the act of online gambling a “ cognisable and non-bailable" offence. Additionally, it imposes hefty fines and prison terms on violators. The Karnataka legislature justifies this by saying that it has been implemented amid growing concerns that online gaming platforms, like gambling, are addictive and can cause financial harm.

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