How do fantasy sports work? Is it worth investing in fantasy sports like Dream11, My11Circle, MPL and Guru11

With every sports lover keen on living the sporting dream virtually, fantasy sports in India is an industry that is picking up.

How well are fantasy sports faring in India

Every sports lover must have dreamt of standing in the field and recreating the game, maybe with a team of their choice. The emergence of fantasy sports has made it possible to satisfy that urge at least virtually. These are online games where the gamers assemble their virtual teams of players from a particular real-life sport. These fantasy gamers (or ‘managers’) form a team for a specific match or season. Points are earned depending on the actual statistics of the players, which gets converted into fantasy points.

These fantasy games are played online, where the managers face off against other managers (gamers) with different teams and virtual players, in fantasy premier leagues or something similar. These managers maintain an index where they add, drop, trade, and sell players to form the best team possible. Once the team is formed, they enter contests such as the IPL fantasy league by paying the entry fees. The winners receive prize money that is decided by the platform beforehand.

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How do fantasy sports work?

Fantasy sports in India has a regulatory body called The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS). This federation aids in protecting consumer interest and establishing best practices for such sports in India. FIFS also defines the guidelines for members of the online fantasy sports platform. For such a platform to get confirmation to operate, they need to obtain permission from the Innovation Committee of FIFS as a ‘game of skill’. 

Fantasy sports platforms in India

Although fantasy sports platforms have spread far and wide in India, the one that made a name for itself is Dream11, and it made the fantasy sport industry famous. It is the first fantasy sport to engrave its name in the league of unicorns in India. IPL 2020, the biggest cricket league, was also sponsored by Dream11. This has taken the popularity of fantasy sports in India to a new high. Mobile Premier League (MPL), Guru11, Fancode, and My11Circle are some other names on this platform. 

What is the market potential for fantasy games?

The popularity of fantasy games in India has a lot to do with cricket mania. Since its initiation in 2008, Dream11 and later other platforms have given fantasy cricket games immense popularity. The future of this industry looks lucrative; expert opinions say that by 2024, it may be worth around $3.7 billion or more.

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Are fantasy games worth investing in?

According to Section 115BB of the Income Tax Act, earnings from fantasy sports competitions are taxable at 30% with applicable surcharge and 4% cess. GST collections from such platforms have also witnessed an increase since 2020. The platform is gaining immense support from users not only for cricket but also other sports such as football, basketball, etc. 

All you need to do is to understand the points system applicable for the platform. Deposit the participation money and build your team. Your team will be competing with teams formed by other fantasy gamers. If your fantasy team wins, you stand to win prize money. It is worth investing if you have a good understanding of the actual game, as well as how the gaming platform works. In fantasy cricket, for instance, you have to second guess the form of the players, pitch condition, weather forecast along with batting/bowling suitability, etc., apart from the point mechanism. 

Apart from gamers, investors too can earn from fantasy games. Investment in publicly listed gaming companies can be made to book profit. Notably, most popular listed gaming companies like Playgon and DraftKings are listed in international stock exchanges only.

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As per FIFS, there is an ongoing process to make India the hub of this industry. The country’s fantasy sports industry looks all set to exceed expectations in the near future.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment or tax or legal advice. You should separately obtain independent advice when making decisions in these areas.


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