The order of the Supreme Court follows several legal victories secured by real money gaming services like Dream11, though states like Karnataka have shown interest in legislating on the issue.
The Supreme Court by order of July 30th fire A Special Leave Petition (SLP) alleging that Dream11’s fantasy sports app was a game of chance, betting and wagering and was not a game of skill. A bank led by Rohinton Fali Nariman and BR Gavai decided that the question of whether Dream11 and other fantasy sports-based apps could be called betting and gambling was already resolved. “The court has upheld the judgments of the Punjab & Haryana High Court and the Bombay High Court and upheld the judgment of the Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court, which upheld the legality of the online fantasy sports format offered by Dream11 is maintained as a “game of skill”. Thus, the legality of Dream11’s online fantasy sports format, which is protected by the Constitution of India, is now legally and effectively final, ”Dream11 said in a press release.
This matter is no more res integra [a fresh matter that has not yet been addressed] as applications for special leave were submitted by the Punjab & Haryana High Court and were already rejected by this court on 06/15/2017. Applications for special leave on October 4, 2019 and December 13, 2019 were also rejected by the Bombay High Court. – Judgment of the Supreme Court of July 30th
Why is it important? The legal victories of real money gambling operators are so firmly anchored that this Supreme Court ruling was only two pages long. The fact remains that, coupled with strict legal standards for what can be considered gambling and decades of jurisdiction that this is considered to be gambling (see below), these services will inevitably increase, especially as the role of central government is limited due to gambling and betting as a subject of the state.
Another case dismissed for similar reasons
A similar case was challenged by the Rajasthan High Court last year. The Supreme Court had declined to take it into account as it had already ruled in favor of the Fantasy Sports Service in light of the decisions of the Punjab & Haryana High Court and the Bombay High Court on the question of whether services like Dream11 are equivalent to gambling.
Gopal Jain, attorney for Dream11 and attorney for the Supreme Court, said, “Simply put, the fantasy sports formats that are consistent with the Punjab & Haryana High Court analysis are games of skill and legal formats that can no longer be verified.”
Mahesh Agarwal, Indian Supreme Court attorney on record, said: “The Supreme Court has reiterated its position and made it clear that Dream11 Fantasy Sports is a ‘game of skill’ and not a ‘game of chance’. By re-confirming its previous orders on the fantasy sports platform offered by Dream11, it has once again given its final stamp of the legality of the platform.
Online gambling services consolidate legal position
According to the State List of the Indian Constitution, the states have the authority to regulate gambling and betting. In the past few decades, however, the contours of gambling have been chased into a corner, marked by legal victories for game-based game operators.
It is this legal precedent that games with stakes influenced by skill are not a game of chance or wagering that enables fantasy sports apps like Dream11 where well-informed gamers can have an advantage in surviving legal and legal challenges .
How did Dream11 and affiliates protect their interests?
- Legal victories: Based on legal victories like the KR Lakshmanan case and the previous one in 1957 State of Bombay versus RMD Chamarbaugwala Case found that games influenced by skill could not constitute gambling, real money gambling companies were able to fend off attempts at regulation and judicial intervention.
- That Rajasthan High Court The case cited by the Supreme Court in the July 30 order was largely consistent with the assessment that fantasy sports based on real-world results from real-life sports require predictions and are therefore not games of chance.
- The Supreme Court has not dismissed appeals against such victories, including Punjab & Haryana High Court ruling who made the same observations.
- As recently as last week, the Tamil Nadu government’s online gambling ban, which banned such services, was approved by the Supreme Court of Madras, which also agreed with this assessment.
- Self-regulatory authorities: While transgressions like the Tamil Nadu law – which imposed a blanket ban on wager-based gaming that the Madras Supreme Court found unacceptable, despite it being non-partisan support – were defeated in court, it is not so easy to question the instinct that such players need to be regulated. And this is where self-regulatory bodies come into play to calm politics and the judiciary. The Federation of India Fantasy Sports is an industry body touted as a self-regulatory body that claims that its members reach 99% of the online gaming audience in India. The Rajasthan Supreme Court even praised the association in the judgment linked above, stating, among other things, that “a mere review of the FIFS management team reveals that it has eminent figures from the industry as well as former members of supervisory authorities responsible for compliance with the applicable laws are responsible ”. That All India Gaming Federation is a similar body and was among the petitioners who won legal victory in the Madras High Court earlier this week.
States and real money games
Different states have different approaches to regulating real money gaming, but they have shown increasing interest in legally addressing the problem.
Andhra Pradesh has banned the practice while the Uttar Pradesh State Legal Commission announced a bill to regulate it. Karnataka is reportedly planning to introduce regulations on online gambling but has not yet published its draft law to that end. Northeastern states in particular have created or fully approved licensing frameworks for real money gambling services:
- Nagaland has a licensing system for mission-based games that require skill.
- Sikkim Update its gambling laws regularly to cover wagering and wagering based gambling and allows games to be played depending on the player’s skill level.
- Meghalaya has legalized all betting and betting.
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