Online fantasy platform Dream11 has suspended its operations in Karnataka, following a ban on online gambling. The fantasy app, in a statement released to the press, has stated that they have decided to shut down their operations as their users have expressed concerns over the safety and security of using it. They have also made it clear that the decision was without prejudice and is contentious under the law.
While the Karnataka Police has recently amended its gaming law in order to prohibit online gambling, wagering and betting, Dream11 understands that the act does not apply to them. According to their statement, Dream11 has spoken about the advice that they received from the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), who have clarified that the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021 does not apply to its member since the FIFS format of Fantasy sports has been upheld by the Hon’ble Courts of India.
With the format not leading to gambling, betting or wagering, Dream11 decided to suspend operations entirely based on user concerns. However, more trouble followed for the fantasy brand as a case was registered against them after modifying the law. Manjunath, a cab driver in Bengaluru was the one who filed a complaint against the owners of Dream Sports. Deputy Commissioner of Police (west) Sanjeev Patil also clarified that the case was registered under Section 79 and 80 of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963.
While Section 79 relates to keeping a common gaming house, Section 80 refers to gaming in a common gaming house. In his complaint, Manjunath said that he read about the amended Karnataka Police Act, 1963 and then searched Google Play Store to understand how many online games have withdrawn their services. Since companies had already blocked their mobile applications, there weren’t a lot of online games except for Dream11.
In his statement, Manjunath also said that he is aware of players investing money into the fantasy sports brand with the hope of winning but would eventually end up losing it. He further insisted that the one who grabs the money is not transparent and players have no control over the activities, which he alleges is a clear case of running online games of wagering and skill.
Dream11 has replied to the complaint saying that it is motivated and they are currently examining legal remedies. They stated that they are a responsible and law-abiding company and are ready to extend complete cooperation to all authorities.