Celebrity endorsements possibly leading to increase in fantasy sports induced mental health issues: Lancet study

Published on:

Online fantasy sports apps in India have seen a huge growth since last few years, however, their true potential was recognized since the recently concluded IPL season. Revenue for fantasy sports platforms increased by 24% compared to last year, according to Redseer.

While there has been a significant overall growth of the Indian gaming sector, there has also been an increase in mental health concerns of the people using these fantasy sports apps. There have been countless instances where people have been reported to have mentally affected, and eventually ended up taking a toll on their lives.

According to a study by Lancet, there has been increase in the number of celebrity endorsements for the advertisement of fantasy sports and other online gaming apps. The study also said that this might be a possible reason behind the people using fantasy sports apps only to get addicted and have mental health issues later.

Tamil Nadu’s Pattali Makkal Katchi’s (PMK) president Anbumani Ramadoss recently spoke about the matter, asking the government to provide mental health counselling for those addicted to any form of online gaming.

If worked on, this step will massively help the addicts, as seen in a recent case of a software engineer from Bengaluru. The 40-year-old reportedly lost Rs 70 lakh on online real money games, but was able to overcome his addiction after mental therapy sessions.

While mental health issues are something that were highly ignored few years back, they have started gaining serious attention from public. In fact, mental health has become a hot topic in the pop culture. And thus, proper campaigns and centres with mental health professionals can help the people in need a lot.

Notably, Haryana government has taken initiatives to cure the ill habit of gambling. A de-addiction centre in Rohtak region has started providing rehab for gambling addicts, wherein people across the state and neighbouring region are brought for appropriate treatments.

Similar patterns of mental health reported globally

Not only India but other countries have observed similar patterns. While there are no studies yet to assess the situation in India, a study from the UK revealed that people spending more time playing, researching, and thinking about fantasy football or any other similar games have poor mental health.

Another study from the US revealed that undergraduate students using these gaming apps are much likely to have mental health related issues, which is predominantly led by addiction.

While fantasy sports are ruled as legal in India and a complete ban will be unreasonable and unrealistic, a limit on people’s spending would not be a bad idea.