Bhavit Sheth and Harsh Jain, the founders of online fantasy sports platform Dream11, filed a petition Monday in the Karnataka High Court seeking to quash the First Information Report (FIR) filed against them over the new state law that bans betting and gambling in online games.
The move comes after an FIR was registered against the founders on the basis of a complaint filed by Manjunatha, a cab driver residing in Nagarbhavi district. The gaming platform was accused of violating the law earlier this month. A case has been registered under Section 79 (keeping common gaming house) and Section 80 (gaming in common gaming-house) of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963. Since then, Dream11 has suspended operations in Karnataka.
The cab driver claimed that the game caused many people to lose their money in expectation of winning, as the game is based on chance rather than skills. He also stressed that it is “surprisingly opaque” as to who grabs the money when the player loses.
The state government implemented the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021 on October 5. It bans all online games involving wagering, gambling and betting of all nature and forms in the state.
Mobile Premier League (MPL), an online gaming platform that allows users to play online games and win real cash, was one of the first companies to stall its operations in Karnataka following the passing of the legislation. All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), a skill gaming industry body, has challenged the law in the Karnataka High Court. On October 22, on the basis of a request made by the body, the Karnataka High Court orally directed the state government not to make arrests under the new gambling law. The court has provision for arrests and FIRs, and it is facing legal challenges from several gaming firms.