Karnataka bill banning skill gaming a setback to fantasy sports during IPL

Published on:

The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, which was passed in the Karnataka Assembly to prohibit online skill games like fantasy sports, rummy, and poker in the state can have a serious impact on online fantasy sports.

The ban falls right on the heels of the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which began on 19th September in Dubai. Being dubbed as the biggest T20 cricket season in recent years, the Indian Premier League will continue till 15th October. With the ban casting a shadow in the peak season, this could be a huge blow to online fantasy sports.

As per the KPMG report, the IPL fantasy league itself is worth $1 billion. The report also says that the Indian online Fantasy Sports market was worth Rs 16,500 crore in FY20. India is the world’s largest market for Fantasy Sports by the user base.

The ban will have a direct impact on the 50 plus fantasy sports stakeholders in the country including Dream 11, My11Circle, My Team 11, Paytm First Games, MPL, and 11 Wickets.

ALSO READAIGF’s Roland Landers on future of online gaming in India, esports, and real money gaming

Recently Howzat, Junglee Games’ leading fantasy sports platform had roped in former Indian international cricketer Suresh Raina as brand ambassador. In IPL 2020, Dream 11 which has over 110 million users and is endorsed by Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, and Shreyas Iyer had achieved a record 5.3 million concurrent users.

The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), the industry body for fantasy sports, in a statement said that the legislation creates confusion and uncertainty for legitimate online fantasy sports businesses.

Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the powerful trade body representing eight crore traders and over 40,000 trade associations had expressed concerns about the said bill. Before the bill pas passed, Roland Landers, CEO, All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers had shared his concerns in a statement.

He had shared, “The move by the Karnataka government in tabling the Karnataka Police (Amendment) Compliance Act, 2021 act (passed late September 21) can be seen as a setback to the state’s reputation of being a tech-hub and start-up capital.”

India is the fifth largest online gaming market globally and skill-based gaming has given birth to a host of unicorns within the country, especially Karnataka. The sector has been a strong financial contributor to the Indian economy and is further expected to generate revenues in excess of $3 billion by 2025.