Dream11 suspends Karnataka operations after FIR against founders

Dream11, India’s most valued fantasy gaming app, has suspended operations in the southern Indian state of Karnataka after an FIR was registered against its founders claiming it was in violation of the amended Karnataka Police Act, 1963. The amendment was notified on October 5. Real money gaming platforms like Mobile Premier League, Ballebaazi, Paytm First Games, Nazara’s HalaPlay, and RummyCircle have suspended their services for users in Karnataka from October 6.

However, Dream11 refrained from commenting on the law and continued to operate in the state till the afternoon of October 10 (Sunday). On Sunday evening, Dream11 social media accounts which went silent on user queries regarding Karnataka operations have put out a notice stating the company is suspending operations to allay user concerns and anxiety on their safety.

Dream11 relied on an opinion from a former Supreme Court Judge, stating that the amendment is not applicable to fantasy sports operators as they were held to be games of skill by multiple High Courts and the Supreme Court. However, considering user queries and rebuke from other gaming companies which had shut shop immediately on notification of the law, Dream11 on Sunday decided to suspend the operations in the state. Earlier, the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) had circulated a note to its members advising abundant caution by the fantasy platforms in the state of Karnataka.

The controversial law has drawn rebukes from various organisations ever since it was tabled. The FIFS had highlighted that the amendment creates confusion and uncertainty for legitimate online fantasy sports businesses while the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the powerful trade body, representing eight crore traders and over 40,000 trade associations had expressed concerns about its implications.

In an expected development, gaming industry body All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and at least four other online gaming companies, have filed writ petitions in the Karnataka High Court on Thursday challenging the constitutional validity of the amended law. G2G was the first to report on the writ petitions before Karnataka High Court.