Dream11 onboards 55 million users in 2023 amidst tax challenges

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In the face of regulatory challenges and a new tax regime impacting India’s real-money gaming companies, Dream11, a prominent fantasy gaming platform, has reported a remarkable surge, welcoming a staggering 55 million new users in 2023.

The platform has now surpassed the 20 crore user mark, currently with a total user base of 21 crore gamers since crossing the 20 crore threshold in October of the previous year. Interestingly, the majority of users, falling within the 25-60 age range, predominantly are from smaller towns, with only 28 per cent residing in tier 1 and tier 2 cities.

As reported by The Business Standard, the company saw a substantial 79 per cent increase in female users on the platform in 2023, as highlighted by Harsh Jain, the co-founder and CEO of Dream11, in a post on X. Dream11 stands as one of the three gaming unicorns in India, along with Games24x7 and Mobile Premier League (MPL), being valued at over $1 billion each.

2023 witnessed an impressive 1,000 crore fantasy sports teams being created on the platform, coupled with a staggering 150 crore UPI transactions. The average ticket size for these activities was a mere Rs 63.

This surge in user engagement comes at a time when the broader Indian real-money gaming industry faces challenges, particularly due to a 28% tax imposed on online gaming. Previously, skill gaming platforms were subject to an 18 per cent GST on the platform fees, also known as Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR). The new regulations, effective from October 1, do not distinguish between games of skill or chance.

In the world of fantasy sports, where participants make imaginary teams based on real players’ performance, the industry in India has seen substantial growth. Revenue from the Indian fantasy sports sector experienced a 31 per cent increase, reaching Rs 6,800 crore in the financial year FY2022. According to a recent report by The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) and Deloitte India, this figure is anticipated to soar to Rs 25,240 crore by FY2027, reflecting a robust 33 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).

India currently stands as the world’s fastest-growing fantasy sports market, with over 300 fantasy sports platforms (FSPs) and an estimated user base of 180 million, signaling a vibrant and thriving gaming ecosystem.