A division bench of the Supreme Court has dismissed GST evasion and gambling appeals filed against fantasy sports operator, Dream 11 – upholding a previous ruling from the Bombay High Court.
The appeals were filed by lawyer Gurdeep Singh Sachar, Department of Revenue, Union of India and State of Maharashtra, who claimed in June this year that fantasy games are luring people to play games of chance through their hard-earned money and are amount to different forms of gambling.
Sachar also claimed that Dream11 was allegedly evading Goods & Services Tax (GST) by violating Rule 31A of the Central GST Rules and not paying 28 percent GST on the total value of deposits.
However, in the hearing on Friday, Supreme Court Justice Nariman observed that there cannot be any doubt that fantasy sports are a game of skill the person who enters the contests needs to apply his mind and judgment on choosing one cricketer over the other. He further noted that if rummy is deemed to be a game of skill, then so would fantasy sports.
While dismissing the petitions, however, the SC allowed the Union of India to approach the Bombay High court to file a petition in the High Court itself, to review the alleged GST evasion by Dream 11.
The latest ruling from the Supreme Court is seemingly the last word as far as the legality of fantasy sports in India and whether skill is involved.