Varun was scrolling through the social media account of a friend in 2017 when he came across fantasy cricket and Dream11 in 2017. He downloaded the app and created an account, but lost Rs 50,000 in just two games.
His case: In March 2017, I registered myself on the website after being satisfied with Dream11’s claim that their operations were legitimate and did not amount to gambling under the Public Gambling Act, 1867. I transferred Rs 50,000 from my credit card and created a virtual team for the cricket match between Ireland and Afghanistan. I lost Rs 24,000. The next day, I played a football league match between Manchester City and Middle Borough, and lost Rs 26,000. Left with a balance of just Rs 3, I understood that the activities offered on Dream11 were not based on skill; it’s purely a game of chance and amounts to gambling under the Act.
Judiciary’s response: I realised that the matter needs regulation and many people don’t approach the judiciary to spare themselves the hassle of court dates etc. I expected the Punjab and Haryana High Court to look at the big picture, but the court dismissed my petition. So I moved the Supreme Court expecting relief. But I was disappointed again. I feel that many people who lost money on such platforms should come together and file a PIL.
Time for regulation: With the increase in number of players and more people accessing the internet, the government should intervene and come out with proper legislation for fantasy gaming. There are no regulations at either the state or the national level to address grievances.
Betting or skill: I played two games in Dream11—cricket and football, and lost both even though I have good knowledge of both the games as a sports fan. My personal experience says fantasy gaming is only sophisticated betting under the garb of skill.
His advice: Many friends told me they were being approached by people who lost money on fantasy gaming platforms, but didn’t know where to go with their grievances. In fact, all over the internet, you can see such complaints. I advise people to be wary of such websites and mobile apps. Also, read the terms and conditions of any platform thoroughly before playing or giving them access to your personal information as these sites are using money transactions.