India has always been a cricket-crazy nation, and with the introduction of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008, the craze for cricket has reached new heights. The IPL has not only revolutionized the sport but also created a massive impact on the Indian economy, entertainment, and even the gaming industry. The IPL has led to the rise of many fantasy gaming startups, such as Dream 11 and My11Circle, etc which have become household names in India. This article explores the reasons behind the boom of these fantasy gaming startups, their legality, and their reality.
The Rise of Fantasy Gaming Startups
The IPL has provided a perfect platform for fantasy gaming startups to flourish. They allow cricket enthusiasts to create virtual teams and earn points based on the actual performance of the players during IPL matches. The thrill of creating a winning team and the chance to win real cash prizes has made fantasy gaming apps incredibly popular among the Indian masses.
Additionally, the easy accessibility of smartphones and the internet has made it possible for people to play fantasy games from the comfort of their homes. The user-friendly interfaces and attractive graphics of these apps have made them appealing to a broad audience, including non-cricket fans. The rise of social media has also played a significant role in the growth of these apps, as they are heavily promoted through various social media channels.
Business & Brand-strategy specialist Harish Bijoor stated that the sudden boom of Fantasy Gaming Apps has to do with the aspect of making easy money and involves addiction.
“It is the yen to make more money and money is a huge business opportunity. And then the Indian context, betting has not been allowed. Betting was allowed on race courses. Betting, by and large, isn't allowed. And suddenly, when on an app, you're able to do this, people are going berserk and taking their hard-earned money, putting it into it. So it is a sudden floodgates opening up, there is a great value for the betting apps because they make a humongous amount of money. And if they're going to make so much money, they're equally willing to part with that money and give it out to others. So that seems to be the way to go. And therefore there's plenty of money in there for sports stars. Actors would be willing to put their faces there. Because for them, it's revenue,” stated Bijoor.
Talking about the element of risk and addiction these fantasy gaming platforms involve, he said,
“I frankly, feel hard-earned money must be invested in a hard-nosed manner. It will be unfair to invest hard-earned money in a speculative manner, like these gaming apps are asking people to do. There is an addiction level, which is possible when one gets on to these kinds of apps. And it's extremely important to not allow addiction levels to set in. Because to an extent, this is certainly gambling. And gambling, as we've seen, leads to a humongous and deep degree of addiction.”
How Do Fantasy Games Work?
Participants are allocated a budget in the form of credits, which they use to select players based on their recent form and value. The points earned by the selected players in real-life sporting events translate into points on the participant's fantasy board. The participant has the liberty to make changes to their team at their discretion. Unlike traditional forms of betting that rely on luck, most fantasy apps are considered a game of skill as the participant must choose players based on their knowledge and expertise.
The Legality of Fantasy Gaming Apps
The legality of fantasy gaming apps in India has been a matter of debate for a while now. While these apps claim that they are not betting apps and are entirely legal, the Indian laws on online betting are still ambiguous. Online betting is illegal in India, but the legality of fantasy gaming apps is still unclear.
Last month, the Indian government released regulations to govern the online gaming industry, which prohibits games that involve real money betting or wagering. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Minister of State for Electronics and IT, announced that the government will set up three self-regulatory organizations (SROs) that will approve games complying with the regulations, enabling them to operate in India.
Chandrasekhar clarified that online games that are acceptable do not involve gambling or content that could potentially harm or addict children. The SROs will be comprised of industry professionals, gamers, and other stakeholders, and they will regulate the online gaming industry in India, rather than the government.
According to Chandrasekhar, any SRO allowing online games that entail betting on cricket matches' outcomes, such as the Indian Premier League, would violate the regulations and be denotified. The SROs are also required to publish a framework on their website to safeguard users against gambling addiction, financial loss, and fraud.
The Supreme Court of India has stated that playing games of skill for money is not illegal, but playing games of chance, which includes betting, is prohibited. Fantasy gaming apps argue that their games involve skill and not chance, as the outcome is based on the actual performance of the players during the IPL matches. However, the legality of such apps is still being debated in various courts across the country.
The Reality of Fantasy Gaming Apps
While fantasy gaming apps claim to be games of skill, the reality may be different. Many experts argue that these apps are nothing but online betting platforms in disguise. The apps' algorithm and the selection of players can be manipulated, and players can win or lose based on factors beyond their control, such as the players' actual performance during the match.
The apps also come under scrutiny for their addiction potential and the risk of financial losses. The apps' advertisements and promotions lure people into playing the games, and some users end up spending significant amounts of money on these apps. The lack of regulations and the absence of any responsible gaming measures add to the concerns about the app's reality.
Harish Bijoor expressed that the reality of fantasy games is that most people are on these platforms to gamble.
“There is a fair degree of gambling aspect involved. Most of the people and people who actually participate, will be participating as to bet or are they participating as a kind of a research exercise? We'll find that bulk of them are doing it as a bet. So whatever the bulk of people do, that becomes that you are a function of the way your app is used. If you're used as a betting model, then you're a betting module. If you're used as a research model, then you are a research model.”
The Indian Premier League (IPL) has revolutionized the sport of cricket, and it has also paved the way for the rise of many fantasy gaming startups, allowing cricket enthusiasts to create virtual teams and earn points based on the actual performance of players during IPL matches. However, the legality of these apps in India is still being debated, with some experts arguing that they are nothing but online betting platforms in disguise. While the apps' algorithm and the selection of players can be manipulated, players can win or lose based on factors beyond their control, such as the players' actual performance during the match. Therefore, it is crucial to invest hard-earned money in a hard-nosed manner and not allow addiction levels to set in.