Fantasy Sports are the Game of Skills and Games of skill are excluded from the definition and purview of "gambling" under applicable Indian laws.
Mentobile Technology LLP opted Fantasy Cricket Game – “SportsArt.in”, is solely depends on the skill of user, where user have to choose their playing XI which they think will perform in the match and according to their performance, they’ll earn points.
Therefore, SportsArt does not constitute "gambling activity" under applicable Indian laws.
There’re two ways to play “SportsArt”,
1. One “free to play”, where users can play live matches to evaluate their skills.
2. Second “Pay to play”, where users have to pay a fee to join the contest.
Indian residents can play “SportsArt” except the residents of Assam, Odisha and Telangana.
The Central legislation governing gambling in India is the Public Gambling Act of 1867. This Act criminalizes
(a) the act of gambling in a public forum,
(b) the keeping of a "common gaming house" which refers to a house, walled enclosure, room or place in which instruments of gaming are kept or used for the profit or gain of the person owning, occupying, using or keeping such place whether by way of charge for the use of the instruments of gaming, or of the house, or otherwise howsoever.
The Constitution of India allows states to make laws on betting and gambling. In furtherance of these powers, various Indian states have enacted anti-gambling legislations. These anti-gambling legislations are mostly in consonance with the Public Gambling Act of 1867 (and include the exception in favor of "games of skill" described below). Where a state legislation on gambling exists, it prevails over the Public Gambling Act of 1867.
Section 12 of the Public Gambling Act, 1867, states that games of mere skill are exempt from the application of the Act. The Supreme Court of India, has interpreted the phrase "games of mere skill" to mean games where there is a predominance of skill. In the case of State of Andhra Pradesh V. K. Satyanarayana, AIR 1968 SC 825, the Supreme Court defined a 'game of mere skill' to mean a game "in which, although the element of chance necessarily cannot be entirely eliminated, success depends principally upon the superior knowledge, training, attention, experience and adroitness of the player."
By application of this definition, it held that the game of "rummy" was a game of skill, and did not amount to gambling under the Public Gambling Act. The Court reasoned:"Rummy.... requires certain amount of skill because the fall of the cards has to be memorized and the building up of Rummy requires considerable skill in holding and discarding cards. We cannot, therefore, say that the game of Rummy is a game of entire chance. It is mainly and preponderantly a game of skill."
In this case, the Supreme Court also upheld the levy of a nominal service charge for provision of a physical space, cards, etc., to play a game of rummy. In the case of K.R. Lakshmanan V. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1996 SC 1153, the Supreme Court held that the betting on horse races was a game of skill. It rationalized that in a horse race the winner is not determined by chance alone,as the condition, speed and endurance of the horse and the skill and management of the rider are factors affecting the result of the race. The better has the opportunity to exercise his judgment and discretion in determining the horse on which to bet.
Like the above stated Rummy and Horse-Riding Games, Fantasy Cricket Games also requires skills to play and earn. These kinds of Fantasy Sports considered under “Game of Skills”, which are exempted from the Act of Gambling.
To play Fantasy Cricket Game – “SportsArt.in”, user needs knowledge, which comes through in-depth research, focus, experience and indulgence in the game. Before participating in the contests, user needs to choose their fantasy playing XI, based on their available credits (this selection requires skills to get success in the game).
Even, users need to study “SportsArt” rules to understand the point system, as there are negative points too and with a worst player selection, users can lose their ranks and chances of win. With the investment of their time and knowledge, users can judge the performance of every player and assign the eligibility accordingly. For these reasons, SportsArt.in is a game of mere skill and does not amount to "gambling" under Indian laws.
With regard to Assam, Odisha and Telangana, the laws in these states are unclear as to whether games of skill may be played for a free. Therefore, currently, residents of Assam, Odisha and Telangana are not permitted to play or participate in the paid formats of the SportsArt.in Fantasy Cricket Game.