Fantasy sports unicorn Dream11 has suspended operations in Karnataka, the company said in a statement today. The move comes a day after Bengaluru Police filed a first information report (FIR) against the company’s founders, Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth, for a complaint that the company was violating the state’s new law against 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,” the statement said.
“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,” it added. Dream11 is a founding member of the FIFS, along with other platforms like Mobile Premier League (MPL), Games24x7 owned My11Circle and more, who are platinum members.
The new Karnataka Police (Amendement) Act, 2021, which came into effect on October 5, bans all forms of betting and wagering in the state, including platforms that take bets for games like rummy, poker and more. On October 8, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and three gaming firms filed a case in the Karnataka High Court against the ban.
The law has also been opposed by industry bodies like the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). In a statement on September 21, the IAMAI noted that Karnataka has 92 gaming companies in Bengaluru who employ 4000 people, and have received as much as Rs. 3000 crore from investors in the last three years.