The Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG), India’s first industry body formed for protecting consumer interests through the self-regulation of the Sports Gaming industry, launched its flagship event ‘GamePlan’ in Mumbai today. The event brought together various stakeholders from the online sports gaming fraternity in India. Luminaries who attended the annual conference discussed and deliberated upon various aspects of the online sports gaming industry, primarily focusing on the growth potential of fantasy sports in India.
It was a momentous occasion for the entire industry as the first-ever report on The Laws Relating to Fantasy Sports Games in India was launched by IFSG chairman and Dream11 CEO and co-founder Harsh Jain, LawNK principal lawyer and Sports Law & Policy Centre (SLPC) researcher Nandan Kamath, and former Meghalaya chief secretary and former NGT member Ranjan Chaterjee. This report delves into the skill element of fantasy sports games, need for self-regulation by online sports gaming companies, the use of third-party intellectual property in fantasy sports games and the recent developments in the Supreme Court of India relating to the determination of Dream11’s fantasy sports format as a game of predominant skill.
GamePlan 2018 had three panel discussions that addressed key aspects of fantasy sports, including its investment potential in India, the legal landscape, and why some of the biggest sports leagues rely on fantasy sports as a tool for fan engagement. The discussions featured eminent panelists – Aarti Dabas (ICC), Arun Prabhu (Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas), Ganesh Prasad (Khaitan & Co), Gowree Gokhale (Nishith Desai Associates), Jamie Stewart (CPL), Nandan Kamath (LawNK), Renuka Ramnath (Multiples Equity), Srinivvasan Gopalkrishnan (ISL), Sumit Sinha (Multiples Equity), Sundar Raman (RIL Sports), Vani Kola (Kalaari Capital) and Yannick Colaco (NBA).
Commenting on GamePlan 2018, IFSG chairman and Dream11 co-founder and CEO Harsh Jain said, “We are delighted to host the inaugural edition of GamePlan, India’s annual sports gaming conference aimed at bringing together eminent leaders to help shape the industry on collaborative platform. These are exciting times with an increasing number of sports leagues, fantasy sports operators and investors aligning to offer the Indian sports fans an immersive and engaging sports experience.”
On the launch of the legal report, LawNK principal lawyer and SLPC researcher Nandan Kamath said, “The recent developments in the courts are an encouraging sign for the fantasy sports ecosystem in India as it shows the willingness of courts to carefully and favourably evaluate game formats on criteria of predominance of skill. The SLPC report is a collaborative effort by leading law practitioners, which aims to document the state of the law relating to online fantasy sports gaming and aims to lend clarity to the industry. We hope this empowers the entrepreneurial spirit and benefits and protects the interests of the wide variety of stakeholders involved with fantasy sports games, including operators, fans, players and governing bodies.”
The fantasy sports ecosystem has been growing exponentially in India over the last few years. From 20 lakh users in 2016, the base has grown to over 2 crore fantasy sports users in 2018 with estimated projections of over 10 crore Indian sports fans playing fantasy sports by 2020. India now has 56 fantasy sports operators, with 2017 alone seeing 30 new entities entering this exciting space. Popular sporting tournaments such as the IPL, NBA, ISL, PKL and others are increasingly relying on fantasy sports as their primary tool for fan engagement.
IFSG aims to work closely with key stakeholders to create a conducive environment and ensure the growth of sports gaming in India by being the unified voice of the industry.