Decide Representation By Fantasy Sports Claiming To Be Game Of Skill: HC Directs Delhi Govt
The Delhi High Court today asked the Delhi government to consider and decide a representation claiming that 'GAMEKING 11', a fantasy sports game, is a skill, not gamble and the authorities including the police should not create any hindrance in its operation.
Justice V Kameswar Rao asked the authorities concerned to convey their decision to petitioner Dream7 Entertainment Pvt Ltd which argued that other High Courts have held that other similar fantasy sports games amounted to games of skill.
Senior Lawyer Vinay K Garg, appearing for the petitioner, contended that 'GAMEKING 11' required a player to select his team of 11 but did not gamble on the performance of actual player.
What is the skill? There is no skill in choosing Messi and Maradona, the Court questioned.
The Senior Counsel explained that skill was in selection as Messi and Maradona are costly players and with say 100 numbers a user has to choose 11 players for his team.
You are saying it is a game of skill. Let the authorities apply their mind and come back to you. You will have a clearer picture when that order comes to you, the judge said.
The Court clarified that the petitioner was free to seek the remedies available in law to it after the decision.
Delhi government counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi submitted that the writ petition can be considered as a representation by the competent authority and a speaking order can be passed within two weeks.
In the plea filed through lawyers Ajay Kumar Singh and Yatharth Singh, the petitioner claimed that it was a leading platform for online fantasy sports games such as fantasy cricket, fantasy kabaddi and fantasy football.
A user selects, builds and acts as manager of his virtual team constituting of real players who compete with the virtual teams of other users for points and winner of such fantasy sports game is the participant whose virtual team accumulates the greatest number of points across the round(s) of the game , it said.
The petition stated that 'GAMEKING 11' did not attract the rigors of Delhi Gambling Act, 1955 and the petitioner possessed the necessary trade licence from South Delhi Municipal Corporation.
However, the local police started creating problems in the smooth running of their fantasy Sports centres, it alleged.
The officer of Respondent No.2 (Delhi Police) at P.S. Lajpat Nagar New Delhi, has visited the premises of the petitioner in the area, several times and has without passing any order in writing, orally directed not to continue with the aforesaid activity else the same shall be booked under the Delhi Gambling Act and closed down, the petition alleged.
The petitioner urged the court to thus pass orders protecting its right to free trade under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
With PTI inputs