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Fantasy Sports

Niti Aayog steps in to regulate online fantasy sports platforms in India

Niti Aayog steps in to regulate online fantasy sports platforms in India

Abhijit Nair

Published: 5 Dec 2020 6:46 AM GMT

The policy think-tank of the Indian Government, Niti Aayog, has released a draft paper for a discussion titled, “Guiding principles for the uniform national-level regulation of online fantasy sports platforms in India".

According to a report cited in the paper released by Niti Aayog, the online sports fantasy industry in India has a potential to generate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth more than INR 10000 crore over the next few years and also generate 1.5 billion transactions online by the year 2023. The report also mentions that the fantasy gamers in India have increased at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 212% from June 2016 to December 2019.

The paper also cites another report which notes that the online fantasy sports industry has a potential to create more than 5000 direct jobs and more than 7000 indirect jobs in India. It also estimates that the online fantasy sports in India can bring the government around INR 3000 crore to INR 3500 crore in the form of GST over the next five years.

The paper pushes for independent recognition of the fantasy sports industry and reads, “Thus far, certain formats of fantasy sports formats have received judicial recognition in various High Courts and with the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India also having endorsed certain of these judgments. However, fantasy sports contests do not have independent legal recognition, having to shelter under an undefined exception to the state gambling and public order laws. Formal recognition of the fantasy sports industry and providing for principle-led governance would enable Indian fantasy sports operators to focus on innovation and achieve scale and expand their operations in a clear and principle-based regulatory environment."

The paper recognises that there is a lack of uniformity in laws for online fantasy platforms in India, with certain things which are legal over certain region being illegal in other parts of the country and wishes to bring a consistency in this aspect.

"With the absence of regulation and lack of policy clarity, there is an imperative need for uniform operating standards, based on sound principles and best global practices, and the monitoring of adherence to these principles and practices to protect fantasy sports users’ interests,” read the paper.

This step from the Niti Aayog comes on the back of some of the Indian states blocking certain applications and websites citing online betting and other vices.

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