With an ongoing IPL and T20 around the corner, the news of Dream 11 suspending operations in Karnataka has brought an air of disappointment and despair to the fantasy cricket fans.
One of the most popular gaming apps that harbor thousands of players has suspended its operations in Karnataka, followed by a complaint registered against its founders, Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth that claims the operating the app was a violation of a states’ new gambling law.
Dream11, which recently became India’s first gaming startup to be valued at over $1 billion, has faced a setback as Karnataka’s government bans any game that is a “game of chance.”
According to the FIR filed by Bengaluru Police, the Mumbai-based firm had continued to offer their services in the southern Indian state after the state government notified new rules that prohibit online gambling, betting, wagering, and online games, which operate as “games of chance” in nature.
According to Dream11, the complaint was “motivated,” and the company is examining legal remedies. Meanwhile, they have stopped their services in Karnataka to avoid any further issues regarding the usage of the app.
“However, following the recent media coverage, our Karnataka users have expressed deep concerns and anxiety about their safety and security. In order to alleviate our users’ concerns, we have decided to suspend operations in Karnataka. This decision is without prejudice to our rights and contentions under law.” – the company said in a statement after Karnataka’s new law that came into effect on October 5.
The complaint that followed the FIR was made by a cab driver in Bengaluru and was registered by Annapoorneshwari Nagar Police, Bengaluru, with the name of co-founders of the company as accused. The police are looking forward to their presence in response to the charges made against them.
However, the company says that the Karnataka gaming ban does not apply to games of skill, which they claim Dream 11 to be, but only on online gambling, wagering, or betting. They also added that Dream 11 is a responsible, law-abiding company and will fully cooperate with any authorities.
Additionally, the Dream11 company reiterated that it had been advised by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) that the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, does not apply to the company members and fantasy sports operators.
The company adds, “This is because the Hon’ble Courts of India have upheld the FIFS format of Fantasy Sports as not amounting to gambling, betting or wagering.”
Whatever may be the outcome and the reason, for now, we can say that it is highly disappointing for the players to come across such news with the IPL underway and the T20 World Cup just around the corner. Along with the players, it will cost the company as well because these sporting events are a crucial time for the sporting apps to engage new players and acquire market share in this competitive sector in India.
Dream11 has joined the league of other gaming apps like Mobile Premier League, Paytm First Games, Games24X7, etc., that have already deactivated their platform for users in Karnataka. As a matter of fact, Karnataka is among the top three states in India in terms of the user base of online fantasy games, but now, after the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021 came into being, the stats will go down again, and the apps will have to look elsewhere to grow their customer base.
Karnataka’s Home Minister Araga Jnanendra concluded the matter by saying that these games were responsible for ruining the lives of people, and the public highly appreciated the government for bringing the law.