Supreme Court puts legal seal of approval on online fantasy gaming
India's highest court concurred with judgements of various high courts that fantasy sports format is a game of skills and does not amount to gambling
The Supreme Court of India has set to rest the entire controversy surrounding online fantasy gaming by ruling that the format is a game of skills and does not amount to gambling.
The Apex Court ruling came on 30 July while it dismissed a Special Leave Petition (SPL) that had challenged a ruling of the Rajasthan High Court.
Rajasthan High Court had earlier reaffirmed judgments passed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court and the Bombay High Court. The three high courts had scrutinised the legality aspect of online gaming and had concurred with the Indian homegrown online fantasy gaming platform Dreams11 that what they offered was a Game of Skill.
The Supreme Court in its 30 July ruling upheld online fantasy gaming site Dream11's fantasy sports format as a Game of Skill and dismissed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) that alleged that the Online Fantasy Sports (OFS) format offered by Dream11 amounted to gambling, wagering and betting, and is not a Game of Skill.
"We are happy that the Hon'ble Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the Dream11 fantasy sports format. We reiterate our commitment to driving sports engagement through fantasy sports, which brings sports fans closer to the sports they love and helps build a larger sports ecosystem in India," Harsh Jain, co-founder and CEO of Dream11, said.
The Rajasthan High Court in another PIL (Ravindra Singh Choudhry v State) had gone on to narrate certain specific best practices from the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports Federation (FIFS) charter, including the resemblance an online fantasy sports contest had with the real-life match, choosing a fantasy sports team that resembles the real-world team, the contest running for the full duration of the match, no team changes being allowed after the start of the match, to list a few, as existing in the format offered by Dream11.
The format being followed by Dream11 is based on the format approved by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports Federation.
With the Supreme Court's seal of approval on the legality of Dream11's online fantasy sports format has now become final by law which can be challenged in future only if Dream11 or other such online fantasy sports platforms deviate from the set format, now legally recognised as a game of skill.