Fantasy sports in the last decade has gained the popularity that is more than ever in countries that of the United States and the United Kingdom. Forbes churned out a report that the American National Football League (NFL) is the most popular fantasy in the US and was said to make around USD 11 billion in revenue in 2013 alone. But along with these countries, fantasy sports app & websites are also on the rise in Asian countries and India tops the chart in that list.

So first let's gain an understanding of Fantasy Sports.

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What is fantasy sports

Fantasy sport is a game that is played online in which every user is a team owner and he forms a virtual team consisting of real players who are actually playing the match. There are millions of team owners with different teams of their own and these team owners face off with other team owners during a particular match. There are certain parameters according to which one has to select his team. The performance of a specific team is decided by the total points earned by his team during the match and those points are generated as per the rules and regulations set by the app manager. The team whose 11 players perform the best in the actual match goes on to win the contest or an event. Next, let's get into how fantasy sports are faring in India.

What prominence Fantasy Sports enjoy in India

While India is playing a bit of a catch-up game in comparison to other countries, the future stills appear to be good. Cricket is worshipped like a religion in India and in the last few years there has been a monumental rise in other sports and that has resulted in the curtain-raising of several big leagues namely Indian Super League (ISL) that is a national football league of India, the Indian Badminton League, and the Pro Kabbadi League. The growth of sports enthusiasts is on the rise courtesy of gigantic television viewership, merchandising, advertisements, fan clubs and the list goes on that has been the reason behind the growing affection of these sports in India.

What is the status of the legality of fantasy sports in India

The Indian court system, as we can see, corners fantasy sports from gambling and betting activities and regards it more of as a skill game. A game where the online players can create a team of their own by selecting 11 players who they feel are going to perform excellently in the actual field game.

In accordance with the Public Gambling Act, 1867, section 12, it is stated that - "Nothing in the provisions of this Act contained shall be held to apply to any game of mere skill wherever played." This statement is a confirmation of fantasy sports, which is seen as a game of skill, excluded from this act. The supreme court of India made a statement regarding fantasy sports legal status that "competitions in which success is depended on the considerable degree of skill will not come under this category of gambling and even though there is an element of chance when a game is largely this game of skill, then it will yet be a game of mere skill.

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Hence, one should be aware of the game format and find out for himself whether that game is more of a higher skill element type than a mere chance type. Until now, not a single case has been found where a fantasy sports game has been presented before the principle of skill versus chance. So, we can be assured that games based on skills do not come under the gambling category in India.

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What is the current status of fantasy sports in the Indian market

"India is rising every day on the ladder of a number of followers and users of fantasy sports in India with a figure of 7 million being connected to this field in the current market. This figure contains not only cricket followers but also the diehard fans of kabaddi and football. In regard to a percentage, the growth rate ranges between 30-50% per year. With this growth rate, it is predicted that the country will reach a number of 50 million in the coming three years and this is way beyond the expected levels."

As people are provided high-speed internet in recent times, it is easy to get hooked by the fever of fantasy sports. With the fantasy sports industry being new to the market of India, fantasy sports operators are minimal. The famous fantasy sports providers are Fandromedia, Dream 11, Oyecaption, League Guru, etc. This is enough to point out that the fantasy sports market is expanding in India and anyone thinking to go with the flow, may have a good shot success in the Indian market.

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Some Stats regarding growth and competition of fantasy sports in the Indian market

IFSG-AC Nielsen report states that India is gaining momentum at a great rate in the field of fantasy sports.

  • The gap between 67% awareness and 10% adoption signifies that the future is bright for this industry in the Indian market.
  • 2 out of 3 which means 67% of the 18 crore online Indian cricket fans are well known with the concept of fantasy sports.
  • With 1.8 crore users, Dream11 is the leader in the Fantasy sports market of India.
  • Not just Cricket but every sport in India, be it Kabbadi, Badminton, Basketball is promoting their major leagues by contacting fantasy sports providers as their main weapon of engaging fans. The ISL, CPL & NBA have formed an alliance with Dream11 to offer their fans fantasy Cricket, Football, and Basketball.
  • Out of the users that have tried fantasy sports- 96% have played it at least once in the past 1 year and 89% of them played it during the last month.
  • Fantasy sports are being played in the US since the early 1950s. In Canada and the US alone there are 59.3 million users, while India currently is providing shelter to around 2 crore fantasy sports lovers and this number has grown from just 20 lakh users in 2016.
  • Though we mentioned that not so far ago, fantasy sports providers were low in number but with each passing day there is an increment in number as right now there are about 60 fantasy sports providers which have increased from 30 operators in 2017. Among all of these, as we mentioned earlier also, Dream 11 is the leader as it has around 90% market share followed by MyTeam11 and HalaPlay.
  • Fantasy sports users are of all age group and status like that of married, independent, working professionals, well-educated carrying a disposable income. According to a survey, 51% of the users are graduates and 84% of the users are under the working professionals category. Fantasy sports users include married men with higher incomes. 72% are aged 25-35, while 28% include 18 to 24-year-old males.

What is the future of Fantasy sports in India

The popularity of Fantasy sports mobile apps is spreading like wildfire India. And this fire is expected to rise in intensity in the coming time. India is already a center of attraction for fantasy sports operators and with the number of internet users expected to touch 600 million by the end of 2018, with as many as 500 million accessing internets via mobile phones, India is going to become a golden bird again in the eyes of fantasy sports operators.


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Related Article -

The Laws Relating to Fantasy Sports Games in India

How to Develop a Fantasy Sports Mobile App like Dream11?

Arun Goyal

Managing Director @ Octal IT Solution, a prominent Mobile App Development Company offering cutting-edge iPhone App Development and Android App Development services to Startups, SMEs and Fortune-500 Companies.

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