Is Fantasy Sports Legal in India? This question is asked by many but answered by none. The commoditization of both traditional and contemporary sports has made it possible for online platforms to raise participation in these pursuits. There are a variety of online games that may be played, including casual games like Candy Crush and Temple Run, money games like online poker and fantasy sports like football or cricket, and of course e-sports like Counter-Strike or FIFA.
Fantasy sports alone brought in more than Rs 2,400 crore for the FY20 as opposed to Rs 920 crore for the FY19, and the sector is predicted to increase rapidly over the next few years. By FY23, the growth is projected to increase by Rs 11,880 crore at a CAGR of 22.1%.
In fantasy sports, gamers choose real-life athletes from teams that are slated to compete against one another to assemble their own virtual sports squad. There are many other fantasy games available, including football, basketball, cricket, and kabaddi. Both the “free to play model” and the “paid to play model” are available in these fantasy games. The free to play model, as the names imply, does not charge an entry price for users to participate, but under the latter model, users must pay an admission fee to register for the competition.
Legal Position of Fantasy Sports:
Fantasy sports are becoming more popular, which raises concerns about their legality and whether they would qualify as betting or gambling. Gambling and betting are considered State matters under the Indian Constitution, with each state establishing its own rules. In some states, including Assam, Orissa, and Telangana, it is illegal to play games for money. The Telangana High Court is now hearing a case challenging the Telangana Act’s constitutionality. Different states allow gambling on games of skill.
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In the case of Dr. KR Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu & Anr., a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court addressed the terms “gambling” and “game of skill.” Continually applying the rulings in RMD Chamarbaugwala & Anr. Union of India and Others v. Gambling is defined as paying money in exchange for the chance to win something. Defination by the courts in cases like State of Andhra Pradesh v. K Satyanarayana & Others and that one. A game may involve skill, chance, or a combination of both. A game of chance is determined totally or partly by luck, whereas a game of skill depends on the players better knowledge, experience and adroitness. Though a skill game contains an element of chance, the element of skill predominates over the element of chance.
Regulation of Fantasy Sports:
Only a few States regulate online gaming. For instance, the State of Sikkim mandates the acquisition of a license in order to conduct any online Fantasy Sports. On other hand the State of Nagaland recognizes fantasy sports as a game of skill but mandates a license.
The Governor of Tamil Nadu has promulgated an ordinance to “limit internet gaming.” The measures comes even as the Madras High Court continues to deal with two PILs filed on allied concerns, one being to ban online gaming and another which also seeks action against celebrities advocating online games.
Fantasy Sports in India are already very famous in India & about 60% of the sports lovers are already regularly playing them. Is Fantasy sports legal in India is still a big question to answer. We already mentioned that legality or illegality totally depends upon the State Legislations.
Some of the Indian states allows Fantasy Sports mentioning them to be a part of “Game of skill”. Whether, other states totally neglets Fantasy Sports mentioning it to be a part of gambling.
AUTHOR BIO: This Blog is Written by Karanbir Singh. Karanbir is an Indian origion individual of 26 years having 4+ years of expertise into betting, Casino & technology content writing. Right now, he is associated with many freelancing projects at their office in Dubai as senior content strategist.