Nearly a week after the Karnataka government banned online gambling in the state under the amendments to the Karnataka Police Act, 1963, the state police has booked Harsh Jain, the CEO and co-founder of e-gaming startup Dream11, and its co-founder Bhavit Seth for violation of the new law. This is the first such incident after the amendments came into effect.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Sanjeev M Patil earlier said that a case has been registered under Section 79 of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963. He added that the directors of Sports Technologies Pvt Limited -- Jain and Seth -- were booked. Dream11 is a subsidiary of Sports Technologies Pvt Limited.
When contacted, a spokesperson of Dream11 said, "We believe the complaint is motivated and are examining our legal remedies. We are a responsible, law-abiding company and will extend our full cooperation to all authorities."
The police had acted upon the complaint of a local cab driver who alleged that he found Dream11 application/ website, which promises lucrative cash prizes worth crores by playing fantasy games, operational despite the ban.
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In his complaint, the cab driver stated that he has come across many people who lost money due to online gambling and the lack of transparency on the platforms.
According to the law, all forms of wagering or betting, including in the form of tokens valued in terms of money paid before or after issue of it, or electronic means and virtual currency, electronic transfer of funds in connection with any game of chance, will be classified as gambling. The new law also makes ownership of gambling centres/ platforms as an offence which could lead to imprisonment from 1-3 years and a fine ranging from Rs 1,000-Rs 1 lakh.
Notably, many gaming applications like Mobile Premier league, Paytm First Games have blocked access to users in the state following the enforcement of the new law. However, startup lobbyist All India Gaming Federation said that it would challenge the government order in court.
Praveen Khandelwal, the general secretary of the Confederation of All India Traders, said that online real money games could impact the startup community.
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