The Supreme Court has held that fantasy sports on Dream 11 is not gambling. The SC affirmed online fantasy gaming portal Dream11’s fantasy sports format as a “game of skill” by an order dated July 30, 2021. This ruling dismissed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) alleging that Dream11’s Online Fantasy Sports (OFS) format amounted to gambling, wagering, and betting and was not a “Game of Skill.” The SLP was filed against a Rajasthan High Court ruling dismissing a Public Interest Litigation seeking to prohibit the online game “Dream 11”.
The bench consisted of Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai.
Dream 11 is an online Fantasy Sports Game in which players can design their own fantasy sports team based on a real-life match and compete for cash rewards. One Chandresh Sankhla filed a complaint with the Rajsthan High Court, stating that the public is being defrauded in the name of ‘Dream 11’.
The Rajasthan High Court dismissed the petition by relying on the judgments of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Bombay High Court. The Court held that the ‘Dream 11’ game does not involve gambling and betting. The High Court observed while dismissing the petition:
‘The issue of treating the game ‘Dream 11′ as having any element of betting/gambling is no more res integra in view of the pronouncements by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Bombay High Court and further the SLPs have also been dismissed against the orders of these High Courts’
Appeal before the Supreme Court
In the appeal before the Supreme Court, the petitioner referred to a judgment of the New York Supreme Court.The petitioners contended that fantasy sports like Dream 11 are pure gambling and not games of skill. While dismissing the SLP, the Supreme Court held that:
‘This matter is no longer res integra as Special Leave Petitions have come up from the Punjab & Haryana High Court and have been dismissed by this Court as early as on 15.06.2017. Also, from the Bombay High Court, Special Leave Petitions have been dismissed on 04.10.2019 and 13.12.2019.’
The CEO and co-founder of Dream 11 while speaking to ETLegalword stated:
“We are happy that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the Dream11 fantasy sports format. We reiterate our commitment to driving sports engagement through fantasy sports, which brings sports fans closer to the sports they love and helps build a larger sports ecosystem in India.”
You can read the order here.