Rajasthan HC dismisses petition seeking ban on online fantasy games
The court was hearing a petition seeking directions to regulate or prohibit any online game involving 'mere skill by putting money at stake in expectation of winning'
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Satish Kumar Sharma observed that offering online fantasy sports in accordance with the Charter of the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) has already been judicially recognized as a business and consequently, entitled to protection under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India and the prayer seeking directions to the State Government to prohibit the same would be opposed to Article 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
The HC relied on other high court judgements wherein online fantasy sports have been recognised as games of skills that are distinguished from gambling/betting and enjoy protection under Article 19(1)(g). It also relied on Draft Self Regulation Guidelines issued by the Niti Aayog as well as research conducted by the IIM Bangalore to establish that making teams on a fantasy sports platform demonstrates a higher range of skill than what is required by a mutual fund manager to manage the mutual fund portfolio.
"Having heard learned counsel for the respective parties and their pleadings, it is clear that the petitioners have sought for directions to the State Government to make appropriate Legislation to prohibit all sorts of online gaming activities, notwithstanding whether they are games of mere skill or games of chance with more emphasis on online fantasy sports," the Court observed.
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