Is Dream11, The Official Sponsor of IPL Involved in Betting And Gambling?

  • A Special Leave Petition (SPL) has been filed against Dream11 in the Supreme Court challenging a Rajasthan HC order which validates the legality of Dream11. 
  • The latest SLP has been filed by social activist and financial consultant Avinash Mehrotra in his independent capacity.
  • According to the Public Gaming Act of 1867 anything that involves money and is predominantly a game of chance is punishable.
  • Currently, MS Dhoni endorses Dream11 in return for undisclosed fees. Dream11 is also a partner of the International Cricket Council.

Indian Premier League (IPL) official sponsor Dream11 is facing legal trouble ahead of the 13th season that is to be held in UAE from September 19. A Special Leave Petition (SPL) has been filed against Dream11 in the Supreme Court challenging a Rajasthan HC order which validates the legality of Dream11. 

Earlier in this regard, the HC had ruled that the Rajasthan government was not violating any laws by allowing the company to operate.

The latest SLP has been filed by social activist and financial consultant Avinash Mehrotra in his independent capacity. His 200-page petition says the Rajasthan High Court dismissed a PIL filed by Chandresh Sankhla on the basis of orders passed by the High Courts of Bombay, and Punjab and Haryana, that said fantasy sports are games of skill and do not amount to gambling, according to an Outlook report.

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Mehrotra’s SLP wants the Supreme Court, which stayed in March a 2019 Bombay High Court Order in favor of Dream11, to be examined in depth. The plea was aimed at seeking clarity on regulations governing fantasy sports.

“Online gaming and gambling, where the real money is involved, is a risk to society and leads to hard-earned money being lost by a lot of people. This has serious social consequences, and should not be permitted till such time proper regulations are brought into force,” Mehrotra told.

Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government amended a bill on the Andhra Gaming Act, 1974 which if passed by both Houses, will make online games like rummy and poker that involve money transactions illegal in the state.

The Public Gaming Act of 1867 governs things like gambling and betting in India. Anything that involves money and is predominantly a game of chance is punishable. Rummy was the first to win a Supreme Court sticker of legitimacy in its favor way back in 1968.

Sikkim enacted a law allowing regulated online gambling for games such as poker, rummy, blackjack, roulette, and backgammon in 2008. Nagaland also joined the bandwagon and legalized online gambling, albeit only games of skills, in 2015.

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However, Telangana in 2017 extended its Telangana Gaming Act, 1974 which forbids online gambling, while explicitly defining rummy as not a game of skill.

Another petition filed by Gurdeep Singh Sachar’s in Bombay High Court was more serious in nature. It not only wanted the court to declare fantasy as a game of chance but that Dream11 was liable to pay GST at 28% instead of 18% that it had been paying since its operations began in 2012.

Currently, MS Dhoni endorses Dream11 in return for undisclosed fees. Dream11 is also a partner of the International Cricket Council.

Mehrotra’s SLP could come up for hearing next week. His petition, unlike previous ones, is stuffed with literature that argues why fantasy sports fall in the realm of gambling. All eyes will be on Supreme Court once again as the online gaming industry, a more than 6,000 crore and growing business, begs for regulations that are clear and unambiguous.

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