According to a report from The Times of India newspaper, the decision from the highest court for the northern states of Punjab and Haryana was in response to a lawsuit filed by disgruntled player Varun Gumber. The Chandigarh resident claimed to have lost approximately $784 via two unsuccessful cricket and soccer competitions and had wanted the judges to rule that daily fantasy sports were illegal because they are based on chance rather than skill.
Gumber had also reportedly asked that the operator of FantasyCricket.Dream11.com face criminal prosecution under the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which prohibits gambling across most of India.
However, the high court reportedly ruled that gambling is not a profession and therefore not protected under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to practice a profession or trade. It moreover ruled that the playing of daily fantasy sports cannot be defined as gambling as doing so involves “substantial skill”.
The Times of India reported that the court additionally found that daily fantasy sports are a “business activity” that pays service and income taxes and, as such, are protected under Article 19.
“[The] petitioner himself created a virtual team of a cricket match between two countries by choosing players who were to play for two countries collectively and after forming a virtual team as per his own selection, knowledge and judgment, which is thoughtful will,” read the 29-page majority ruling written by Justice Amit Rawal. “[The petitioner] joined various leagues after registration, which was declared before participating was not about the possibility of winning or losing like horse riding as not every bettor is winner.”