Karnataka online gaming ban: FIR against Dream11 for operating despite ban

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An FIR was lodged against fantasy gaming leader Dream11 with Annapoorneshwari Nagar police station under the Bengaluru city limits, reported news channel Tv9 Kannada. Most of the real money gaming operators have already blocked access to residents of Karnataka after the state government notified the online gaming ban law for stakes with immediate effect on October 5. The law passed last month by the legislature received governor assent on October 4.  

Dream11 continues to operate in the state. The fact that Dream11 continues to operate despite the ban has definitely drawn the ire of other operators who had to shut shop in Bengaluru.

As per reports, the FIR also names Bhavith Sheth and Harsh Jain, the founders of Dream11. The police have reportedly launched a probe into the issue as per the provisions of the amended law. Meanwhile, Dream11 which maintains an active social media presence stopped responding to user queries on legal status to play on the platform from Karnataka. The fantasy gaming leader responded to user queries on Twitter on Karnataka law as recently as in the last week of September stating residents of Karnataka are permitted to participate in the Dream11 app.

In an expected development, gaming industry body All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) and at least three online gaming companies have filed writ petitions in the Karnataka High Court on Thursday challenging the constitutional validity of the law. The petitioners have averred that the ban is manifestly arbitrary, vague, and unreasonable and does not meet the test of proportionality and thus is liable to be struck down. The petitioners have also asked for interim relief in terms of staying the operational provisions of the new amendments and directive that the police and law enforcement authorities do not obstruct, disturb, or prevent the companies from carrying on their business activities.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), the industry body for fantasy sports platforms has circulated a note to the members advising abundant caution by the platforms in the state of Karnataka. 

[This is a developing story.]