Why a court judgement was Dream11’s click moment
A court ruling that said fantasy sports is not gambling was not only a turning point for Dream11 but for the whole fantasy sports gaming sector
When we started offering the Dream11 format of fantasy sports about 10 years ago, there was legal clarity but no judicial precedence. Through those 10 years, people told us not to continue in this. We undertook multiple opinions from the top legal brains and they all strengthened our belief that the product we were offering was a game of skill, and, therefore, exempt from Indian gambling laws.
The click moment for us came last year when the judicial system passed a ruling in our favour in a case filed by a user who demanded that the game be considered gambling. In a landmark judgement, the Punjab and Haryana high court declared the Dream11 format of fantasy sports as legal and one that requires considerable skill and judgment, and thus is not gambling and is protected by the Constitution as a legitimate business. This judgement was further ratified by the Supreme Court.
This judicial outcome was not only a turning point for us but for the whole fantasy sports gaming sector, with about 70 startups operating in the space and more launching their products post the high court’s judgement.
With more than 40 million Indian sports fans playing fantasy cricket, football, kabaddi and basketball, we are India’s biggest sports game with 95% market share (according to a recent report by IFSG & AC Nielsen). We’ve also been the first Indian fantasy sports operator to tie up with some of the top sports leagues such as ISL and NBA.
The fantasy sports industry has evolved rapidly over the last few years and the number of operators has grown from 10 in 2017 to 70 today. To ensure user interests are being protected, we’ve also set up the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG)—India’s first sports gaming self-regulatory body to protect consumer interest and create standardized best practices in the industry.