Dream11 said on Sunday that it has halted operations in Karnataka, citing allegations claiming violations of the state’s recently enacted gaming prohibition.
Following a complaint that the Mumbai-based firm had continued to offer gaming services on its platform a week after the state government notified the new rules prohibiting what it called “games of chance,” Bengaluru Police filed a first information report (FIR) against Dream11 founders Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth on Saturday.
Dream11 maintains that it complies with all applicable laws.
“However, following the recent media coverage, our Karnataka users have expressed deep concerns and anxiety on their safety and security,” the company said in a statement. “In order to allay our users’ concerns, we have decided to suspend operations in Karnataka. This decision is without prejudice to our rights and contentions under law.”
Karnataka’s new rule, which took effect on October 5, prohibits internet games that are essential “games of chance.” It declares internet games involving the exchange of money, betting, and wagering to be a “cognizable and non-bailable offense.”
The announcement comes while the Indian Premier League (IPL) is in full swing, with the T20 Cricket World Cup set to begin later this month. In a competitive market, these athletic events are critical for gaming platforms to generate engagement and recruit new users.
Manjunatha, a Bengaluru taxi driver, lodged the complaint that led to the filing of the FIR. The cofounders of Dream11 are named as accused in the FIR filed by Annapoorneshwari Nagar Police in West Bengaluru. According to reports on Saturday, the police are prepared to issue a notice requesting their appearance in order to answer allegations made in a complaint.
The allegation was “motivated,” according to Dream11, which is looking into legal options.
The firm claims that the Karnataka gaming prohibition does not apply to games of skill, but only to gambling or betting and that it is a “responsible, law-abiding corporation” that “will offer our full assistance to any authorities.”