India Can Become the Global Hub of Fantasy Sports

The Fantasy Sports scene is growing rapidly in India. Here's all you need to know about the way forward!

2 min read

Recently, the Karnataka High Court struck down certain provisions of the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021 that extended its scope to prohibit even games of skill when played for money or otherwise as unconstitutional and arbitrary. With IPL 2022 just around the corner, the Hon'ble Karnataka High Court's decision spells good news for skill based digital sports engagement platforms like Fantasy Sports and Esports. Fantasy Sports and Esports are great tools for sports fan engagement and are leveraged heavily by sports teams to drive fan growth.

The interest being taken by national and state regulators in Fantasy Sports and related sectors is noteworthy and bodes well for this growing industry going forward. Taking cognizance of the vast potential of the Fantasy Sports sector, the NITI Aayog, apex public policy think-tank of the Government of India has come out with very comprehensive draft guidelines for fantasy sports to ensure that this sunshine industry grows responsibly. FIFS (Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports), which is India’s one and only dedicated Fantasy Sports self-regulatory body breaks down the draft guidelines:

  1. Fantasy Sports has been recognized as a great sports engagement tool and distinguished from online games.

  2. Fantasy Sports is distinct, a form of sports engagement and legally recognized as legitimate business activity in multiple judgements by various courts including the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India.

  3. Fantasy Sports to contribute INR 13,500 Crores in taxes to the Indian government in the next 5 years.

  4. Fantasy Sports industry to generate FDI more than INR 15,000 crores in the next few years.

  5. Fantasy Sports to create 12,000+ skilled jobs via direct & indirect employment in the next few years.

  6. The Fantasy Sports contest relates to and emulate an entire real-world official sport

  7. The dependency of Fantasy Sports on actualities, seasonality and availability of real-time sports matches makes it a non-addictive form of play

  8. 98% of the 20% fantasy sports users, participating in the pay-to-play format, have either won or lost less than INR 10,000 net in their lifetime

  9. The average ticket size of participation in the ‘pay-to-play’ format is as low as INR 35/-

  10. Increased viewership & higher sports fan engagement is positively supporting sporting ecosystem

The sector is growing at a very fast pace and it is important to promote self-regulation to ensure transparency, accountability and to reduce the burden on the Indian judicial system. Uniform guidelines will:

  • Help protect Fantasy Sports consumers from unscrupulous operators and offer easy grievance redressal tools

  • Create a safe-harbor with defined parameters and mechanisms to distinguish Fantasy Sports format from games of questionable legality operating in the guise of Fantasy Sports

  • Ensure ease of doing business and achieve full growth potential

Fantasy Sports is one of the most revenue-generating sports technology industries in India, and is popular across the nation, including Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. With light-touch regulation, we can usher in the goal of India becoming the global hub of this sunshine industry. We're already ahead of the US in terms of market size and with an entire ecosystem built around it, including thousands of jobs created for Indians, it's a win-win for everyone involved - the country's economy, the companies running the fantasy sports platforms, and most importantly, the sports fans participating in it.

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