The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal against a Rajasthan High Court decision, which held that online fantasy sport platform, Dream11, involves skill and is not gambling.
A Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman and B.R. Gavai said the issue was not res integra (unique) and had been the subject of several judgments, including one in June 2017 and two more in October and December 2019.
“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 June 15, 2017. Also, from the Bombay High Court, Special Leave Petitions have been dismissed on October 14 and December 13 of 2019,” the Supreme Court order said.
The petitioner had termed Dream 11 as a play of sheer chance involving betting on the cricket team. The petition had referred to a February 2020 decision of the New York Supreme Court, which, according to him, had held that the fantasy sports game was “pure gambling”.
The Rajasthan High Court, however, in a judgment pronounced in October 2020, held that winning or losing in a Dream 11 game depended on the skill and knowledge of the participant.
“It can be safely deduced that the result of the fantasy games is not determined merely by chance or accident. The skill of the participant determines the result of the game and has a predominant influence on the outcome of the fantasy game,” the High Court had said.
The Rajasthan HC had further observed that “whether any particular team in the real world match wins or loses, is also immaterial as the selection of virtual team by the participant involves choosing players from both the teams playing in the real world”.
The HC had also said that Dream 11 games involving “substantial skills” was a “business activity” protected under the fundamental right to practice trade or any profession under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.