The online sports fantasy gaming company Dream11 decided to suspend its operations in Karnataka on 10 October (Sunday) following a complaint filed against it on 7 October under the amended Karnataka Police Act, 1963.
What is the new amendment to the Karnataka Police Act?
In its most recent assembly session, Karnataka’s government decided to amend the Karnataka Police Act, 1963. The new amendment bans all forms of gambling including online gambling.
Specifically, it bans gaming including online gaming, involving all forms of wagering or betting in the form of tokens valued for money, virtual currencies or electronic transfer of funds in a game of chance. It does not ban lotteries or betting for horse racing.
It criminalises hosting such games, setting up gaming houses and gambling in such gaming houses. The penalty for hosting such games and opening gaming houses has been enhanced from imprisonment of one year to three years and raised the fine from Rs 1,000 to Rs 100,000.
The penalties for gaming in gaming houses has also been enhanced. All these offences are non-cognizable and bailable.
It also criminalises gaming in public places and makes it a cognizable and bailable offence.
The statement of objects and reasons of the bill states that the bill was introduced to “curb the menace of gaming through internet and mobile app” and also to “enhance the punishment for gaming for the orderly conduct of citizens and to wean them away from the vice of gambling”
Karnataka became the fourth state after Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana to ban online gambling. The Act was brought into effect last week on 5 October after it was notified by the government.
Following the notification, a case was filed against Dream11 on 7 October in Bengaluru by Manjunath, a taxi driver. Manjunath searched the Google Play Store and found that although various other similar services had suspended their operations, Dream11 continued to operate; as reported in .
Statement of Dream11
According to a statement accessed by the , Dream11 said that the complaint was motivated and was examining current legal remedies.
It further stated that according to the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), who shared an opinion of a former judge of the Supreme Court, the new law does not apply to fantasy sports members as this format was upheld by the Madras High Court in August.
But due to the recent media coverage, after users of the app expressed their concerns regarding their safety and security, the company decided to suspend their operations in the state.
Petitions Filed Against the Ban
Gaming developers including All Indian Gaming Federation (AIGF), Mobile Premier League, Games24x7, Gameskraft and Head Digital Works Private Limited have filed writ petitions in the Karnataka High Court against the law.
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