The Andhra Pradesh government has passed an ordinance that will refrain locals from participating in paid contests on any online gaming platform including Dream11, which is India’s largest fantasy sports platform.
With the new changes in the AP Gaming Act - 1974 of Andhra Pradesh, Dream11 has now been banned in six states of India; Assam, Odisha, Nagaland, Sikkim and Telangana. Andhra Pradesh is the latest to join the club.
The ban has come during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, in which Dream11 has invested heavily and is its title sponsor.
Dream11, through an email, notified its users about the change and also stated it on their website.
“Due to recent changes to the Gaming Act in the State of Andhra Pradesh, users from Andhra Pradesh will not be able to join paid contests on Dream11,” read the notification.
“Currently, individuals residing in the Indian states of Assam, Odisha, Sikkim, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, or Telangana may not participate in the paid version of the contest as the laws of these states are unclear/bar persons from participating in games of skill where participants are required to pay to enter,” it added.
Under the new laws, those convicted of playing banned online gaming platforms would be given six months of imprisonment and two years of jail for a repeat conviction.
Users from the southern state of India were left helpless, with many claiming to be unable to withdraw money from their accounts.
Although the pay-to-play contests remain banned, users from the state can still access free contests on the Dream11 app.
Fantasy sports in India have often come under scrutiny for their resemblance to sports betting and gambling.
However, the Bombay High Court, in 2019, upheld the legality of Dream11 and online fantasy sports gaming in India as games that are typically ‘games of skill’.
It ruled that no betting or gambling is involved in the fantasy games operated by Dream11 as their result is not dependent upon winning or losing of any particular team in the real-world on any given day.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of India stayed the operation of the judgment of the Bombay High Court in the case, deeming fantasy sports to be completely legal.
Even though the courts have ruled in the favour of fantasy sports platforms, each state has its own act on gambling, thus allowing them to make amendments.