‘It’s haraam’, say clerics
By Tawseef Shafi —
Srinagar: Ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League edition scheduled to start from tomorrow (April 9), thousands of youth in Kashmir are prepping up for their own IPL as they dream of cashing in money on ‘Dream 11’, an addictive fantasy gaming portal in which virtual teams of real cricket players are created.
In ‘Dream 11’ and several other similar fantasy gaming applications, participants are supposed to choose top performing players from both teams and include these players in their ‘dream team’ in order to win cash rewards.
Many people in Kashmir follow and play ‘Dream 11’ hoping to hit the jackpot.
To play, the users have to buy ‘Dream 11’ credits. Since the game is addictive, users end up spending thousands on the app in hope of winning the lottery even as clerics say the game falls under the ambit of gambling and is, as such, prohibited in Islam.
“I’m playing for the last three years and I have played for more than Rs 13,000 till now. Once I was only 22 points away from victory,” said a youth from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
To win a contest on Dream 11, one needs a mix of cricketing knowledge and luck to include top performing players in one’s ‘Dream 11’ team before the beginning of a match.
“We don’t know how to create a team. Many people go with the players who are selected by most. A single player will not perform every time, until you do not take chances, I don’t think you will win,” said another ‘Dream 11’ player Showkat Ahmad.
“I have been playing since last IPL. There is a lack of employment in Kashmir and if you think of your own start-up, you need money for that too,” he added.
Founded in 2008, ‘Dream 11’ has become quite addictive with more than 45 million registered users till date so much so that the brand even won the sponsorship title of IPL in 2020.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Kashmir’s Grand Mufti Nasir ul Islam said: “Gambling is prohibited in our religion. You make money by betting in this game and it is (as such) haraam (forbidden).”
To the argument most ‘Dream 11’ players come up with that they use their cricketing knowledge to earn the money, Mufti said: “You may have knowledge of sports but if you are using it this way, you are not making proper use of that knowledge.”