Online gaming app Dream11 suspends operations in Karnataka

Dream11's founders and directors were booked by the Karnataka police after a Bengaluru man filed a complaint that the app was against the law banning online gambling apps.
Dream11 founder Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth
Dream11 founder Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth
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The popular mobile gaming application Dream11 has suspended operations in Karnataka, a day after the police in Bengaluru registered an FIR against the founder and directors of the app. The company says that though the ban on online gambling does not apply to fantasy sports operators, it is suspending operations after users in Karnataka voiced their concerns about the same. 

In a statement, the company said, “The Karnataka Police Act recently amended its gaming law to prohibit online gambling, betting and wagering. We have been advised by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), who have shared an opinion from a former Supreme Court Judge, stating that the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021 does not apply to its member Fantasy Sports Operators. This is because the FIFS format of Fantasy Sports has been upheld by the hon'ble Courts of India as not amounting to gambling, betting or wagering.”

“However, following the recent media coverage, our Karnataka users have expressed deep concerns and anxiety on their safety and security. In order to allay our users' concerns, we have decided to suspend operations in Karnataka,” Dream11 said in the statement, adding that this decision is without prejudice to our rights and contentions under law.

Bhavit Sheth and Harsh Jain, the founders and directors of Sporta Technologies Private Limited which promotes the 'Dream 11' gaming app, had been booked as accused number one and two. The police filed the FIR based on the complaint filed by Manjunath, a resident of Nagarbhavi in Bengaluru.

The complainant said the Karnataka government made amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, prohibiting the online games of chance and skill where money is risked. He had searched the Google Play Store to know how many online games are withdrawn. Many companies have blocked their mobile applications except 'Dream 11'.

The Karnataka government had notified the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, banning all formats of online games involving wagering, betting and gambling of all nature and forms in the state. Under the new law, online gaming is considered a non-bailable offence with a fine of Rs one lakh and imprisonment up to three years. Along with banning games of skills, the Karnataka government has categorised online games using electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game as gambling.

(With agency inputs)

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