The tug of war whether online fantasy sports should be categorised under the gaming or gambling category continues. While the courts in India have ruled majorly in favour of fantasy sports platforms and skill gaming, six states in India – Assam, Odisha, Telangana, Nagaland, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh – have banned fantasy sports. Betting and gambling fall under the State legislature. The Andhra Pradesh Government passed an ordinance to amend the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act listing skill gaming as gambling and imposing stringent punishment which includes six months of imprisonment and 24 months of jail for repeat conviction to those charged with gambling. As per local circles survey report, 67 per cent respondents believe online fantasy sports platforms are classified as ‘gambling’. The survey received more than 50,000 responses from 21,000+ unique citizens located in 309 districts of India. 47 per cent respondents were from Tier 1 districts, 29 per cent from Tier 2 districts and 24 per cent were located in Tier 3, 4 and rural districts of India and 69 per cent respondents were men while 31 per cent were women for the report.
Here are the key findings
- 12 per cent of citizens in India are either playing online fantasy sports or have someone in the family playing it but majority citizens classify it as gambling and not skill gaming.
- To that, six per cent respondents said “Yes, multiple members” in their family play online fantasy sport, and another six per cent said “Yes, only me”. There were 86 per cent of citizens who said “No”, while three per cent couldn’t say.
- 12 per cent citizens believe Online Fantasy sports qualifies as skill gaming while 67 per cent classify it as gambling.
- Only five per cent said online fantasy sports platforms advertise in television, print and digital media “should be permitted as is”, 25 per cent said “should be permitted only with appropriate warnings, both visible and audible”, and six per cent said “only surrogate or indirect advertising should be permitted like liquor, tobacco, etc”. Breaking down the poll, the majority of 54 per cent of citizens said that it “should not be permitted to show advertisements at all”, while 10 per cent said “can’t say”. The aggregate findings of the poll suggest that only 36 per cent of citizens want online fantasy gaming platforms should be permitted to advertise, and most of those want appropriate visible and audible warnings in place. The question in the survey received 8,182 responses.
- The majority of 57 per cent of citizens surveyed in the poll said “Yes” that online fantasy sports platforms are required to also talk about the risk of loss in these advertisements. There were only two per cent of citizens who said “No”, while another two per cent said “can’t say”.
- Citizens want Online Fantasy Sports advertising to be made more responsibly. 20 per cent said “celebrities should be barred from advertising for such platforms”, 17 per cent said “platforms should not be permitted to show advertisement,” 57 per cent want celebrities to also talk about the risk of loss in ads.
- 68 per cent citizens want the Government to create guidelines or code of regulation for Online Fantasy Sports Platforms. On the administration front, 49 per cent support self .
- 63 per cent citizens are not in favour of the Government giving legal recognition and protection to Online Fantasy Sports Platforms, while 28 per cent citizens support giving.
As per the survey, most citizens surveyed are currently of the opinion that Online Fantasy Sports Platforms classify as ‘gambling’. This is evident as 67 per cent respondents in the survey called it gambling while only 12 per cent of citizens in the survey believe such games qualify as skill gaming .