Saturday , April 13 2024

Karnataka Gaming Ban: Dream11 Suspends Operations In Karnataka

The company has suspended its operations after concerns of safety and security from the users

In the latest development on the Karnataka gaming ban and the FIR on the Dream 11 founders, the online fantasy gaming company has suspended its operations in the state.

The company has decided to suspend the operations in the state after the concerns from its users over their safety and security. “Following the recent media coverage, our Karnataka users have expressed deep concerns and anxiety about their safety and security. In order to allay our users’ concerns, we have decided to suspend operations in Karnataka. This decision is without prejudice to our rights and contentions under law,” said the company.

As per the media reports, Bengaluru’s Annapoorneshwari Nagar police station had filed the FIR against the founders of Dream 11: Bhavit Seth, COO Dream 11 and Harsh Jain, Culture Enforcement Officer (CEO) & the President of the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports.

The company (Dream11), in its official statement issued on Saturday, had called the act motivated and had promised to provide cooperation to the authorities. “We believe the complaint is motivated and are examining our legal remedies. We are a responsible, law-abiding company and will extend our full cooperation to any authorities,” stated the company.

According to media reports, the complainant had searched the Google Play Store to see how many online games have been removed. Except for ‘Dream 11,’ most of the firms had removed their apps.

The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), informed that the FIFS approved fantasy sports have been legally upheld as a ‘Game of  Mere Skill’ by multiple High Courts and the Supreme Court of India and do not amount to gambling, betting and wagering. They further inform, “Operators offering Fantasy Sports following the Charter of FIFS have been accorded protection under Article 19(1)(g) & Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Being a legal business activity, Fantasy Sports would not be covered under “gaming” as defined in Section 2(7) of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021. The legal advice and a written legal opinion received by FIFS from a former Supreme Court Judge reaffirms that the said amendment does not apply to Operators following FIFS’ format of Fantasy Sports.”

“The Government of Karnataka has also clarified on the floor of the House that Fantasy Sports is a Game of Skill and announced in the media that this Act is not applicable to Games of Skill but only gambling or betting. In view of the above, we have advised all our charter-complaint members to continue operating their legal operations and business in the state of Karnataka.”
Under the new law, online gaming is considered a non-bailable offence with a fine of Rs one lakh and imprisonment of 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,” added FIFS.

Roland Landers, CEO, AIGF, expressed his disappointment on the gaming ban in the state. He said, “The industry is quite disappointed at this obvious setback to skill gaming in Karnataka, a state that has always stood for innovation and ease of business.”

“It is to be noted that the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) along with some online gaming companies have already moved to the Karnataka High Court to challenge the new online gambling law. “As the apex industry body, we have notified our member companies to block Karnataka in accordance with the law. Needless to say this burgeoning sunrise industry our legitimate online skill gaming businesses, game developer and publishers will be impacted. Several pro gamers livelihoods will also be negatively impacted. We must remember that the Madras HC had recently struck down a similar act that tried to stop online skill gaming in the state,” added Landers.

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