15 January, 2021

Garbled Playbook

There has to be clarity on the legal position on fantasy games

Garbled Playbook

It is an irony that a nation that prides itself as a digital-first country is held back by an archaic law that has wrapped the rising sector of online gaming in ambiguity. Dream11, a fantasy sports platform, won the title rights of the IPL 2020 by paying the BCCI a handsome Rs 222 crores to outbid a firm from another burgeoning domain, the education technology sector.

Aligning with one of the world’s hottest sports properties ought to have been a happy occasion for Dream11. But a powerful traders’ body has accused it of ‘hoodwinking’ the government of thousands of crores in taxes, and two controversial High Court orders that gave it the bandwidth to expand its business are now under the Supreme Court’s scanner.

Caught in the quagmire of ‘skill’ versus ‘chance’, the controversial fantasy sports sector has drawn its power from two High Court judgements, with several special leave petitions at the SC being dismissed. But all that could change if the SC’s recent mood is any indication. The Rs 2,500 crore tax...



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