Online gaming, particularly fantasy sports, has witnessed a surge in the Indian market primarily due to easy internet access and increase in digital usage. The number of fantasy sports operators increased seven-fold between 2016 and 2018, whereas the user base grew over 25 times between June 2016 and February 2019. Investments upto USD 166 million (approx.) were made in fantasy sports operations during 2018 -2019. While no valuation of the industry as a whole is readily available, Dream11, the largest fantasy sports operator in India was estimated to be valued at approximately USD 1-1.5 billion in April 2019.
The growth of fantasy sports has raised questions on its legitimacy and legality in India. Fantasy sports are legally recognised in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Canada, France and in most states in USA. In India, the High Courts of Punjab & Haryana, Rajasthan and Bombay have clarified that fantasy sports are games of “skill” rather than “chance” and, therefore, do not amount to gambling. These decisions have encouraged participation in such sports and led to its growth in India.
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