Dotball Interactive Private Limited (“Dotball”), owns and operates the website www.dotball.com (the “Website”) and the Dotball mobile application (the “Mobile Application” and together with the Website, the “Platforms”). Through the Platforms, Dotball offers free-to-play fantasy cricket contests (“Free Contests”) and pay-to-play online fantasy cricket contests (“Paid Contests” and together with the Free Contests, the “Contests”).
Games of skill are legal in most states in India, as they are excluded from the ambit of Indian gambling legislations including, the Public Gambling Act of 1867. The Indian Supreme Court in the cases of State of Andhra Pradesh v. K Satyanarayana (AIR 1968 SC 825) and KR Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu (AIR 1996 SC 1153) has held that a game in which success depends predominantly upon the superior knowledge, training, attention, experience and adroitness of the player shall be classified as a game of skill.
Recently, in a landmark ruling for fantasy sports games in India, the Punjab & Haryana High Court, inter alia, held that online fantasy sports games being offered by a certain fantasy sports games operator (which was a party to the case)were ‘games of skill’ under Indian law and did not constitute gambling. Significantly, the High Court also recognised the offering of fantasy sports games as a legitimate business activity protected under the Constitution of India.
In light of the ruling of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in such case and the various other precedents identified above, it is legal to offer and play paid fantasy sports games in most Indian states, with the only relevant criterion being that the particular fantasy sports game qualifies as a ‘game of skill’.
The Contests offered by Dotball through the Platforms are games of skill as the success of a participant in such Contests (“Participant”) depends primarily on the Participant’s superior knowledge of cricket, knowledge of players' relative form, players' performance in a particular territory, conditions and/or format (such as ODIs, test cricket and Twenty20), attention and dedication towards the Contest(s) and adroitness in playing the Contest(s). The Contests also require a Participant to field well-balanced sides with limited resources and make substitutions at appropriate times to gain the maximum points.
However, the laws of certain states completely prohibit, or do not permit without a license, the offering of games of skill for money. In this regard, Dotball does not permit users from the states of Odisha, Telangana, Assam, Nagaland or Sikkim to participate in any Paid Contests offered by Dotball through the Platforms.