After the recent High Court order by the Karnataka government on regulating fantasy sport, platforms like Dream 11 have been exempted from the previous ban laid down by the government. This adds on to the growing number of Indian provinces that are interpreting fantasy sports in their own manner. The debate is much larger than the usual 'Game of Skill v Game of Chance' conundrum that has continued to cause problems all over. It extends to several other reasons which states have used at their discretion to ban or allow it.
As it stands, the states that have banned the game are Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Odisha, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. This ban is specific to Dream 11 in these states.
Karnataka had previously banned all forms of online gaming which includes wagering, betting and gambling in any form.
Reasons for Ban
The differing opinion is a cause of concern for the future of fantasy sport in India. Andhra Pradesh in 2020, did not give a clear reason but there were reports that the pay to play platform for online games had come under scrutiny as per the latest addition to the Games Act. Dream 11 also came within this ambit and users began noticing changes in the app.
A similar instance was seen in Karnataka in October 2021 when the government moved to amend the Karnataka Police Act to regulate gambling. There is much dispute surrounding this as the law has classified games of chance as those that come within the purview of gambling. Dream 11 has not be been specified clearly but given that there is no central law on the same, it is open for state governments to interpret laws in manners they deem fit.
The issue with Tamil Nadu is still quite unclear. The state has been going back and forth with its online game regulation laws. Tamil Nadu passed a notable ban on online gaming with their Gaming and Police Laws Amendment in 2021. Most recently, the state has reportedly allowed Dream11 to operate without any obstructions in its functioning after the High Court overruled the previous legislation. This came after the Supreme Court dismissed an SLP against online gambling and fantasy sports wagering on the Dream11 platform. There is no explicit legalisation of fantasy sports but this order reaffirmed other state decisions that allowed Dream11 to operate as a game of skill. However, the situation is still unclear as the Tamil Nadu High Court reaffirmed that the government could enact another law to ban the game.