Dream11 founders booked for flouting Karnataka gaming ban

Dream11 founders booked for flouting Karnataka gaming ban

Bengaluru: The Bengaluru City Police is preparing to summon Dream11 founders Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth in connection with a first information report (FIR), which claims that the fantasy sports platform has flouted the recently implemented Karnataka gaming ban.

The FIR—registered by the Annapoorneshwari Nagar Police in West Bengaluru—names Jain and Sheth as accused. The police is preparing a notice seeking their presence to respond to the charges made in a complaint by a city-based cab driver Manjunatha.

The complainant said that when he checked the Google Play Store to see if online gaming apps were still available in Karnataka after the gaming ban came into effect earlier this week, he found that several had blocked access, but Dream11 was still operational.

When contacted by ETtech for a comment on the matter, a Dream11 spokesperson said, “We believe the complaint is motivated and are examining our legal remedies. We are a responsible, law abiding company and will extend our full cooperation to any authorities.”

The Karnataka gaming ban has intensified concerns that growing state regulations could hit the
nascent but booming gaming sector in India, where foreign investors have pumped in millions of dollars in recent months.

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ET reached out to Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra as well, who called the first case booked under the new law as a “big win” in the government’s fight against online gambling. Online betting games, he said, were ruining the lives of many people, and the government was receiving a lot of appreciation from the public for its law.

The government, he said, has only banned games of chance, and not the games of skill. But one cannot allow betting and wagering even on games of skill. Jnanendra urged members of the public to inform the police if they come across any instances of violation of the law.

The Law
The Karnataka government has passed amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, to curtail online games of chance and skill where money is at stake. The laws were notified to come into immediate effect on October 5. Flouting the new law is a non-bailable offence attracting a fine of Rs 1 lakh and imprisonment of up to three years. Popular gaming apps such as Mobile Premier League and Paytm First Games
curtailed operations in the state, but Dream11 didn’t, according to a Reuters report on October 6.

Karnataka, home to some of the world’s biggest tech companies and India’s tech capital Bengaluru, is the latest Indian state that has banned such online games after Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu had also imposed such bans, but its bill
was struck down by the Madras High Court.

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