We love our sports in India. We love playing them, we love watching them and, increasingly, we love betting on them. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of Indians bet on something online at least once a year. There is a wealth of online platforms where betting enthusiasts can place a flutter on their favourite sporting events, or perhaps try their luck at some table games. Indeed, a number of platforms such as Jeetwin, Royal Panda and 10Cric have arisen right here in India as a result of our love of betting on live games. The digital era has opened up a whole new wealth of possibilities in terms of esports betting. But today we’re going to look at a new phenomenon that could take India by storm. Fantasy sports betting.
What are fantasy sports?
Fantasy sports (also known as rotisserie or roto) is a game where players create imaginary or virtual teams of existing sports using real players. Hence the term fantasy. The teams compete and algorithms are used to calculate the probable outcomes based on players’ historic data.
Players can bet on the outcomes of “their” teams’ games, and players can trade, draft and drop players in the same way as team managers in real life.
Why are Indians betting on fantasy sports?
It’s easy to see why a nation of sports lovers like India would be so keen to embrace fantasy sports betting. When done right, fantasy sports offer the perfect combination of skill and chance. Players feel that they can exert a measure of control over the result, but at the same time there’s enough of an element of chance that they don’t feel swindled if they don’t get the result they want.
Fantasy sports are on the rise
There’s no doubt that we’ve seen a sharp rise in fantasy sports betting in India. In the early days of fantasy sports (around 2016) there were only 10 players operating in the world of fantasy sports betting. Now, a scant 4 years later there are over 150 well-known players in the space.
And with this exponential growth has come a new need for regulation. The world of fantasy sports betting of completely self-regulated by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) which was established in 2017. It’s the job of this regulatory body to ensure that all betting on fantasy sports takes place in a way that’s legal, fair, and above board. It’s up to the FIFS to ensure that fantasy sports retain their balance so that they are predominantly based on knowledge and skill rather than chance.
The pros and cons of fantasy sports betting
There are a number of positives to fantasy sports betting. It’s hugely satisfying for sports fans to be able to use their knowledge and passion to affect the outcome of their betting. It’s a form of betting that rewards skill, although there will always be an element of chance.
And it’s in this grey area that the potential trouble arises. Even the FIFS admits that non-members of this self-regulating body could unwittingly facilitate illegal gambling.
Still, as fantasy sports betting grows ever more popular, it’s fair to say that we can expect the self-regulating body to grow in power and capability as demand increases.