As per the FIR, the complainant said that he checked Google Play Store to see if online gaming apps were still available in Karnataka after the recent amendment of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021. He found that many apps had already blocked access, but, Dream11 was still operational.
In a statement, Dream11 said that its users in Karnataka had expressed deep concerns and anxiety on their safety and security. “We have been advised by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), who have shared an opinion from a former Supreme Court Judge, stating that the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act 2021 does not apply to its member Fantasy Sports Operators. This is because the FIFS format of Fantasy Sports has been upheld by the hon’ble Courts of India as not amounting to gambling, betting or wagering,” the company added.
Last month, in the Legislative Assembly, Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra tabled the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021, to ban online gaming or betting by amending the Karnataka Police Act of 1963, with maximum imprisonment of three years and a penalty of up to INR 1 lakh.
The regulatory and legal issues have cropped up at a time when the online gaming market is growing at a robust pace. The online gaming market in India grew at a CAGR of 17.3%, from $543 Mn in 2016 to $1.027 Bn in 2020. India also moved to the top global spot in mobile game downloads in the first nine months of 2020 with 7.3 Bn downloads.