Court dismisses gambling PIL against online game


The Rajasthan High Court recently dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging that the online fantasy sports game “Dream 11” had committed offences of betting and gambling.

In Chandresh Sankhla v The State of Rajasthan and Ors, the petitioner filed a PIL against Dream 11, alleging that the public was being cheated by the game and the respondents were committing the offence of gambling and betting.

The respondents filed objections to the “frivolous” PIL, and stated that, as per section 12 of the Rajasthan Public Gambling Ordinance, 1949, games involving “mere skill” were exempted from the applicability of the act/ordinance, and as Dream 11 is such a game, no fault could be placed on the respondents.

Rajasthan High Court observed a similar issue was examined by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the case of Varun Gumber v Union Territory of Chandigarh and Ors reported in 2017 where the high court had held that a user’s success in Dream 11’s fantasy sports arises out of knowledge, judgment and attention. The writ petition was dismissed.

It was also found that the division bench of the Bombay High Court addressed the issue in Gurdeep Singh Sachar v Union of India & Ors. The division bench of the Bombay High Court on 30 April 2019 upheld the legality of Dream 11.

In view of the above-mentioned, the high court held that the issue of treating Dream 11 as having elements of betting/gambling was no more res integra (an open question). The high court found no merit in the PIL and the same was dismissed.

The dispute digest is compiled by Bhasin & Co, a corporate law firm based in New Delhi. The authors can be contacted at Readers should not act on the basis of this information without seeking professional legal advice.