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Fantasy Sports and the Rise of Real Money Gaming

India Tech has released a market value report for online fantasy sports games in India which reveals that the number of gamers who play such games in India has grown by 4400% over the past four years.

Vibrant development
Between 2016 and 2020, the number of online fantasy sports gamers has seen explosive growth, reaching a staggering 100 million. This also caused revenues of said industry to increase exponentially from $INR 9.2 billion to 24 billion, which represents a growth rate of 160%

What is fantasy sports?
Fantasy sports is a digital entertainment platform, which allows gamers to assemble their own dream team by utilizing statistical data of real athletes and compete with other gamers. The winner of such competitions can earn prizes and rewards from a  pot. This format gives gamers a chance to participate in highly popular sports disciplines such as cricket, soccer and Kabaddi (a traditional Indian team sport).

The dominating platform
There are numerous fantasy sports platforms including Dream11, Mobile Premier League (MPL), MyTeam11, HalaPlay, 11Wickets, and My11Circle that serve the Indian market. However, Dream11, the first unicorn of the Indian gaming market, occupies a dominant position, controlling 90% of the market.
After securing capital from Chinese Internet giant Tencent and the asset management firm Steadview Capital, Dream11 is now valued at US$ 1.1 billion. Alibaba Holdings is also an active player in this market. Its subsidiary AGTech Holdings started to promote over 300 mobile games as early as 2017 in cooperation with Paytm, an Indian gaming company that SoftBank has a significant stake in. Over 40% of these games belong in the “RMG category” which also include fantasy sports games.

Legality issues
The aforementioned report also points out that a large number of law courts have defined fantasy sports as a “skill-based” game in their verdicts. The genre is therefore not subject to anti-gambling laws. The development of the industry is however still stunted by considerable legal challenges. The fate of the card game “Rummy” should serve as a warning signal. The Supreme Court declared in 2015 that rummy is a skill-based game in the same vein as fantasy sports. Despite this ruling, the game has been banned in several states including Telangana.

Fantasy sports is one of the markets that attracts the most attention among Indian gaming companies and game developers in India. Compared to other gambling games, fantasy sports games are less subject to ethical pressure and controversies. The number of gaming companies and developers actively engaged in this industry has increased dramatically. It can therefore be projected that fantasy sports will turn into a vibrant and thriving industry in India provided that it remains largely unaffected by the legal restrictions imposed by the Indian government in the future.

Source : indiatech