Author: Karthik T, IV year B.Com.,LL.B.(Hons.) from SASTRA University
It was well known that betting is an illegal activity in India. Dream 11 is an online fantasy sporting platform. It is a game of skill, every contestant has to create a team of real players for an upcoming match and compete with other contestants for prizes. Now, Dream 11 became the title sponsor for the IPL, 2020, one of the biggest cricket tournaments in the world. Some of the people thought that there is no difference between the contests entered into Dream 11 and betting. But it is not true.
The question about the legality of Dream11 was raised in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Hon’ble High Court held that the Dream11 needs some skills to play and thus it does not come under gambling and betting. The court further stated that success in Dream11 is based on the contests’ knowledge, judgment and attention. So, Dream11 is different from betting and gambling.
The legality of Dream11 was again challenged in the Bombay High Court; the Hon’ble Bombay High Court also repeated the same judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court held that winning or losing does not depend on a real-world game; it is undoubtedly a game of skill and not a game of chance. Then, the petitioner appealed in the Supreme Court to quash the Bombay High Court’s judgment. But the Hon’ble Supreme Court refused to quash the judgment.
The Dream11 was exempted from the provisions of the Public Gambling Act, 1867, as it needed the ‘mere skill’ to succeed. Section 12 of the Public Gambling Act stated that this act shall not apply to any game of mere skill wherever played. Hence, the Dream11 does not come under gambling and it was protected under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution of India i.e., everyone has the right to do trade and business.
Dream11 is a founding member of FIFS (Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports). GST at the rate of 18% is also being paid by the Dream11.
Difference between gambling and Dream11
While gambling requires putting money and getting reward based on the happening of an event which hardly requires any skills, Dream11 is a game of skill, the success in the Dream11 is only based upon the real event.
Selection of players needs some analysis about the past performance of the player, pitch condition and weather conditions. While betting was done only based on an event for a ball or an over or a player, Dream11 was based on one full match. The number of players in a team is based on the number of players in the real-life sport i.e., 11 for cricket and 7 for kabaddi. No team changes were allowed by contestants after the deadline for the participants given before the start of the match.
IPL title sponsor
Due to the border dispute between India and China, many people raise their voice against the VIVO (Chinese Smartphone manufacturer) for being the title sponsor for the IPL. Then, VIVO gave up the title sponsorship and Dream11 grabbed this opportunity and became the title sponsor for the IPL with a three-year winning bid of the title sponsorship. If the VIVO returns as the title sponsorship then the title sponsorship of the Dream11will be terminated. If VIVO does not return as the title sponsor then Dream11 will hold the title rights till 2022.
Therefore, Dream11 is a fantasy game and not illegal like betting and gambling. It completely differed from betting and gambling.