Fantasy sports in India — Rules, restrictions and things you should know
Over the past year, the presence of fantasy sports in India has seen an exponential rise not just in the number of frequent users of particular games but with the official regularization of various sports as well.
A brief overview of what goes on in the fantasy sports world of India
Over the past year, the presence of fantasy sports in India has seen an exponential rise not just in the number of frequent users of particular games but with the official regularization of various sports as well. This has gradually led to several court cases, government bans and app developments all of which have contributed to the growth of the esports domain in India. We take a look at certain major pointers you should know about the current state of fantasy sports in India.
Popular Game Platforms
There is tight competition for space in the Indian market with apps such as Dream 11, Halaplay, My Team 11, My Cricket 11, Mobile Premier League etc. Dream 11 has been a made waves over the past 2 years with their signature catch liens and sponsorship of the IPL. They have raised their stakes and market value with several rounds of investments coming in from various market watchers and companies interested in their business model. This has helped tap into the market potential for all such companies and avid esports fans looking to either work or take part in the esports world.
The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports which was incorporated in 2017 is a self-regulatory body that as of today is the only esports regulation mechanism that governs consumer interests in the esports domain. As per its objectives laid down, it aims to "create a thriving ecosystem for fantasy sports users and operators by creating guidelines for a common set of practices, setting standards of operation and creating a regulatory framework to protect the fantasy sports users and operator interests."
The general rules that are adhered to in a majority of fantasy sports involve a player selecting a certain team and accumulating maximum points. Every app or sport has a set of rules that are laid down which follow a strict scoring system for actions or events that take place during the sport. Double points for captains, wildcards, minus points for red cards are some of the common point parameters found across different apps.
A majority of these applications run on pay to play models that incorporate a certain sum of money being put in by the user. Thereafter, the entire lump sum of the prize money is divided into a certain number of slots which get distributed as per the total number of points scored by the users in their respective games. Some of the popular sports that see a massive amount of cash injections are cricket and football. Local sporting leagues around the world get certain competitions and events with cash prizes based on the popularity of the sport.
In live events such as Counter Strike or Dota 2, there are teams that match up against each other in front of throngs of crowds on live-streamed events. There are official teams sponsored by companies that face-off in regional or national tournaments in order to qualify to represent India.
State-wise ban on fantasy sports
As harmless as it comes across to be, fantasy sports have had their fair share of controversies over the past few years and this has resulted in state legislation dealing with it effectively. States such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana have put an end to online rummy or card games that are deemed to be direct attempts to gamble. Others such as Nagaland and Meghalaya have not banned it completely but have ensured adequate regulation for certain games. The process of deliberation is still ongoing for various states such as Karnataka with warnings being spread by the government and possible deliberations over the ban on income-based online gaming.
The raging debates over the future of esports have had a lot to do with the revenue sourced from them as well as the issue of a 'game of skill v. a game of chance'. It remains to be seen how there can be an instrumental change in the outlook towards fantasy sports and esports platforms as it has often been confused with gambling. Celebrities and sportspersons have been at the centre of these controversies for no fault of their own along with millions of players who simply consider it a pastime. Money is an incentive but the debate must be settled once and for all with effective legislation passed by the central government in order to effectively regulate one of India's largest growing industries.