Bombay High Court Says, Dream 11, Fantasy Cricket Platform is Not a Betting Site
The air surrounding Dream11 being a gambling and betting site has finally been cleared by the Bombay High Court. An advocate, Gurdip Singh Sachar had filed a PIL or public interest litigation against this platform of the fantasy sports platform which has the approval of the BCCI and also the International Cricket Council.
The contention by Sachar has been dismissed by the Bombay High Court saying that there isn’t anything illegal about the site, Dream11 and the other platforms which are similar to it. In 2019, May, Outlook, the magazine had been the first one to ask a question regarding this platform and other sites such as Star pick. The magazine had taken up the gray areas of the legal system which help fantasy cricket to flourish. Thus, the verdict of Bombay High Court has been a landmark.
Dream11 Game of Skill and Not of Luck
Dream11 is the online fantasy game where players make virtual sports teams with players from real-life from games like football and cricket. The user has to choose a player whose gaming skills are dependent on the matches of real-life. Dream11 was promoted by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of the Indian cricket team and it had been popular in this year’s IPL.
The participants of the fantasy games have to develop virtual teams and then compete against one another. The winner will be decided on the basis of the points that are scored through the performance of the player in the matches of real-life depending on the statistics. It is not like the casino games that are played online such as roulette, slot, or video poker.
Moreover, to play, the participants have to deposit a certain amount that kept in escrow. It is actually under the third party and will take effect only when you fulfill a specific condition. This is later given out as the prize money. User will also have to pay a fee for signing up. Dream11 develops a GST Tax Invoice for the fee and discharges all GST liabilities. Of course, the user will be able to play for free without seeking any kind of return.
Ruling of the Court
Sachar contested that the activities of Dream11 is just like betting or gambling. This means that the company has to pay GST on the escrow fee like mentioned under the GST [Rule 31A (3) of 2018 CGST Rules].
The court has stated that there is not gambling or betting involved since it depends on the skills of the user and is not like the online jackpot games in India where everything depends on luck. The result will depend on the judgment of the participant and thus do not consist of chance or luck.
The ruling which had been passed by the division bench of judges Bharati Dangre and Ranjit More stated that the petitioner seems to have failed to identify that the result of Dream11 fantasy games is not dependent on losing or winning of a particular team in the real game. This shows that not gambling or betting is involved when it comes to fantasy games.