Online Fantasy mobile games BANNED in Karnataka
After the state of Karnataka implemented a new law from Tuesday, access to fantasy mobile games have been restricted. Mobile Premier League (MPL) was among the first few services that began blocking access to users in Karnataka on Wednesday. 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."
The latest ban has intensified concerns that growing state regulations could hit the still new but booming gaming sector in India, where foreign investors have pumped in millions of dollars in recent months.
MPL's gaming app showed messages to users in Karnataka that said, "Sorry! The law in your state does not permit you to play Fantasy sports," "Fantasy games are locked," and "cash games are locked."
The gaming app offers fantasy cricket and football games and allows real-money wagering on them. Dream11, one of India's most popular gaming apps backed by Tiger Global, was still operational, but Paytm First Games was not. Dream11 declined to comment, while MPL and Paytm did not immediately respond.
Karnataka is the latest Indian state that has banned such online games after Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu had also imposed such bans, but its bill was struck down by its high court.
An industry source had told Reuters earlier that these states were important for the gaming business and account for roughly 20 percent of the total business for companies.
Roland Landers, the chief executive of the All India Gaming Federation, said "the industry will challenge this in court and seek legal recourse."
Two other industry sources told Reuters on Wednesday that gamers and some companies were planning to file court challenges against the new Karnataka law.
In the past, the Indian government imposed ban on the popular mobile game PUBG Mobile. The game was banned for sending user data to Chinese servers. Krafton later revoked the license from Tencent games and eventually re-released the game under the new title of Battlegrounds Mobile India. Krafton is also planning to bring the PUBG New State to India soon.