The petition was moved by Advocate Gurdeep Singh Sachar seeking directions to initiate criminal prosecution against ‘Dream11 Fantasy Pvt Ltd’ for allegedly conducting “illegal operations of gambling/betting/wagering” in the guise of Online Fantasy Sports Gaming, attracting penal provisions of Public Gambling Act.
Calling the entire case of the petitioner “untenable, misconceived and without any merit”, the bench said, “It can be seen that success in Dream11’s fantasy sports depends upon user’s exercise of skill based on superior knowledge, judgment and attention, and the result thereof is not dependent on the winning or losing of a particular team in the real world game on any particular day.” The Bombay High Court recently held that Dream11 Fantasy game “is undoubtedly a game of skill and not a game of chance” and it does not amount to gambling. “It is undoubtedly a game of skill and not a game of chance”, the bench added. The court also found no merit in allegations of Goods and Services Tax (GST) evasion by Dream11.
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The bench observed, “Since the Online Fantasy Sports Gaming of respondent No.3 (Dream11 Fantasy Pvt.Ltd) are not gambling services, the respondent No. 3 is not in error in paying GST under this entry for its online gaming activities, by paying applicable GST @ 18%.” The bench also observed, “The petitioner has lost sight of the fact that the result of the fantasy game contest on the platform of respondent No.3, is not at all dependent on winning or losing of any particular team in the real world game. Thus, no betting or gambling is involved in their fantasy games.” The petitioner had argued, “These fantasy games are nothing but means to lure people to spend their money for quick earning by taking a chance, and most of them end up losing their money in the process, which is thus gambling/betting/wagering, being different forms of ‘gambling’.”