Ban on playing in Karnataka: FIR against the founders of Dream11, the company claims to comply with the laws

Bengaluru Police prepare to summon Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, co-founders of fantasy sports platform Dream11, into FIR they have registered for violating new law banning betting and betting in online games.

The FIR, registered by the Annapoorneshwarinagar police in West Bengaluru, names the co-founders of the fantasy sports platform as accused. Police are preparing to issue a notice requesting their presence in response to charges in a complaint filed by Manjunatha, a city taxi driver.

In a statement to ET, Dream11, however, said the complaint was “substantiated” and that it was looking into legal remedies.

He said Karnataka law is not applicable to games of skill but only to gambling or betting, and added that it is a “responsible and law-abiding business and that ‘it would extend our full cooperation to all authorities.

The complainant said he checked the Google Play Store to see if online gaming apps were still available in Karnataka after the legislature recently amended the police law. He discovered that many had blocked access while Dream11 was still operational. “It provides a platform for players to build their fantastic team based on a real match to score maximum points and win exciting cash prizes worth millions of dollars,” he said. According to him, Dream11 continued its promotions to attract users to its platform and that this was an offense under section 80 of the 1963 Karnataka Police Act.

“Great victory”


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Karnataka’s Interior Minister Araga Jnanendra called the first case filed under the new law a “big victory” in the government’s fight against online gambling. Online betting games, he told ET, were ruining the lives of many people, and the government was receiving a lot of appreciation from the public for enforcing the law.

Many online gambling operators, the minister said, have blocked access to games in Karnataka after the law was notified last week. The government, he said, has only banned gambling, not games of skill. But we cannot allow betting and even betting on games of skill.

Jnanendra urged members of the public to notify the police if they encounter any cases of violation of the law.

Skill game

Numerous courts and the Supreme Court have upheld the fantasy sports format approved by the Indian Fantasy Sports Federation (FIFS) as a game of skill, and are not involved in gambling, betting or betting , said a statement from FIFS, shared by Dream11. .

“As a legal business activity, Fantasy Sports would not be covered by ‘gambling’ as defined in Section 2 (7) of the Karnataka Police Act 2021 (Amendment). Legal advice and a written legal opinion received by FIFS from a former court judge reaffirms that the said amendment is not applicable to operators following the FIFS format of Fantasy Sports, the company said.

Besides Dream11, platforms such as MPL, Games24X7 are also affected by the new state law and are said to have blocked users in the state.

The new law, notified on October 5, prohibits online games which are by nature “games of chance”. It makes the operation, complicity or hosting of online games involving the exchange of money, betting and betting a “recognizable and non-surety offense”. The law imposes a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh, and in some cases both, for offenders.

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