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iGaming Expert Interviewed Over Bill Passed in Karnataka

iGaming Expert Interviewed Over Bill Passed in Karnataka
October 11
09:52 2021

On the 21st of September, the legislative assembly of Karnataka approved an amendment to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963. With this amendment, all forms of gambling, be it physical or online, are banned and those who violate the law could face up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to â‚ą1 lakh.

The law has sparked a lot of controversy and one spokesperson who finds it inhumane is Mattias Fröbrant – a foreigner who runs a gambling comparison site with focus on mobile casinos in India. Reaching out for an opinion, we got the opportunity to interview Mr. Fröbrant who shared his views on the law, explaining why it’s harmful and sharing alternative ways of handling the situation.

First of all, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please, if you could just share a little information about yourself for our readers to get an understanding of who you are.

Mattias: It’s my pleasure. As someone who cares deeply about our world and the direction it is going, I feel obliged to share my professional opinion on the situation.

I have been working in the online casino industry for 6 years – as a support agent, content writer and recently as an entrepreneur running my own websites. I own Gamblingbaba.com, which aims to provide people in India with honest and helpful information about playing casino online.

I recommend mobile casinos to choose, based on what I know from knowledge and research is a safe and quality experience. Picking a gambling site is like buying a house. As long as you have roof over your head it may satisfy your basic needs, but for a quality life there are many things to take into consideration.

As a growing number of Indian states are taking a restrictive approach towards online gambling, how do you feel about the recently passed law in Karnataka?

Mattias: I understand if some regulations are required, but chasing down innocent people who gamble online and enforcing brutal penalties on them is absolutely outrageous. Only time will tell how this law will be enforced, but the law itself is a huge problem.

To draw a parable to drug usage, criminalization doesn’t work as it’s intended. My motherland, Sweden, is a prime example of this. Any drug, except for alcohol, is heavily criminalized and the usage is also stigmatized. We have one of the harshest, if not the harshest drug policies in all of Europe. Yet, Sweden reports time after time of having the most drug-related deaths in Europe.

Laws do not stop people from using drugs. Laws do not stop people from gambling online. What the laws do, on the other hand, is making matters worse. You’re either punishing innocent people who have full control of their lives, or you are punishing people who are already in a bad situation. Either way, it’s about as inhumane as it gets.

Clearly this is an upsetting topic. But, what do you have to say in response to congress member Ramesh Kumar mentioning that hundreds of families have been ruined by online gambling?

Mattias: Of course, they have. I’m shocked if this would come as a surprise to anyone. Families have been ruined by drug abuse too. And by food abuse. And by shopping abuse. And by a countless number of other addictions. There will always be people in our society that don’t know when to stop, whether it’s about gambling too much, smoking until their lounges collapse or eating until their hearts no longer beat.

This does not mean that we should criminalize every single thing that can be harmful or rob people of their freedom of choice. That is not a humane thing to do. That is not a humane solution to the problem.

So, according to you, what would be the solution to families getting damaged by online gambling?

Mattias: First of all, you have to accept the fact that you cannot prevent all casualties from happening. It may sound harsh, but the reality is that there will always be some extent of damage. The solution, however, is to minimize this damage as much as we can. Information is one way to go. 

Whether we’re talking about gambling, drugs or food, unbiased information that highlights the real dangers should be easily available to promote a healthy society. Gambling can be addictive. It can lead to economic devastation if you cannot control yourself. If we want to regulate the industry, online casinos and those involved in it should be required to highlight such information.

Additionally, there are tools that can be used to minimize problematic gambling. Casinos that are licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority in Europe are already required to include these. I’m talking about tools that allow users to set deposit limits and temporarily or permanently block their accounts.

Most importantly though is to actually help people who are suffering from a gambling addiction. We need to help them get back on their feet and to get their lives back. If they want this help that is. Because you cannot help someone who does not want to be helped.

Would you ever change your opinion if it turns out that the new law in Karnataka does prove to decrease problematic gambling in the state?

Mattias: I would not. I find the law itself to be oppressive as people should be free to make their own decisions – whatever they may be – as long as they are not damaging anyone else.

It’s sickening to me to think that someone like me, who would spend a few hours on the weekend gambling with my friends for the sake of having fun, risks having my life ruined. Not because of the gambling, which is not a problem for me, but because of the law and the government behind the law who could put me behind bars. It’s ridiculous that anyone would find this to be a good solution.

While your opinions are strong, how credible do you find yourself to be when you’re involved in the gambling industry yourself?

Mattias: I do make money from marketing online casinos. It is true and nothing that I try to hide. I understand if my words are not credible and I would not suggest anyone blindly taking them to heart. Personally, I have a very hard time trusting people who make money out of the thing they promote themself, whether we’re talking about gambling, the food industry or pharmaceutical companies.

What I propose is thinking for yourself. Does the law make sense? Should we punish people for making certain decisions in their life or should we try to help them? You tell me.

Before ending this interview, do you have any last words for us?

Mattias: I’m not by any means an expert on how online gambling is to be treated. However, my firm belief is that legislation against it is not the solution. I want to live in a world where people are free to make choices and where people care about one another.

With these last words, we thanked Mr. Fröbrant for his time. Now, what do you think about the things he had to say? Is he right or wrong? How should we handle the online gambling situation? Share your opinions in the comment section below!

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