New Delhi: Online fantasy sports app Dream 11 on Sunday suspended its operation in Karnataka days after a case was registered against the owners of Dream Sports. The move follows the implementation of the state’s new law on online gambling that came into effect on October 5. The state has passed the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021, with the aim to make gambling a cognisable and non-bailable offence.
In a statement released to the press, Dream11 said, “The Karnataka Police Act recently amended its gaming law to prohibit online gambling, betting and wagering. We have been advised by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), who have shared an opinion from a former Supreme Court Judge, stating that the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021 does not apply to its member Fantasy Sports Operators. This is because the FIFS format of Fantasy Sports has been upheld by the hon’ble Courts of India as not amounting to gambling, betting or wagering.
However, following the recent media coverage, our Karnataka users have expressed deep concerns and anxiety on their safety and security. In order to allay our users’ concerns, we have decided to suspend operations in Karnataka. This decision is without prejudice to our rights and contentions under law.”
On October 7, Manjunath, a cab driver from Nagarbhavi in Bengaluru, filed a complaint against the proprietors of Dream Sports in what was likely the first lawsuit filed after the legislation was changed to restrict online
The case was registered against the directors Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, of Sporta Technologies Private Limited and Dream 11. Reportedly, Manjunath searched online for gaming apps which involve betting. While others had shut down, DREAM11 still was functional. Hence, he filed a complaint.
The Karnataka Cabinet on September 4 decided to impose a ban on online gambling or betting. However, lottery and horse racing have not been prohibited. “We are amending the Karnataka Police Act, with an intention to put an end to online gambling, on the basis of the High Court directions,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister J C Madhuswamy said.
Online games involving all forms of wagering or betting including in the form of tokens valued in terms of the money paid before or after the issue of it or electronic means and virtual currency, also electronic transfer of currency in connection with any game of chance have been banned as per the new law.
Last November, Tamil Nadu had promulgated an ordinance banning online gambling, and earlier this year, Kerala had imposed a ban on online rummy games.