30 Mar 2021 faisan

India's fantasy gaming industry seek esports tag to avoid regulatory hurdles

In the last few months, even though Niti Aayog released a set of guidelines for the regulation of the fantasy sports sector, India's fantasy gaming industry has been on a backfoot. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh banning the RMG sports acted as a negative institutional operational hurdle with Kerala also planning to ban rummy games.

In such a situation, India's fantasy gaming industry is seeking the esports tag to avoid regulatory hurdles. According to Inc42, fantasy gaming is planning to gain this classification from any government body in India which might help the regulatory cloud hanging over the sector, causing the growth to recede in time.

However, there is another hurdle Electronic Sports Federation of India (ESFI) is not convinced whether fantasy sports platforms like Dream11, MPL, and others feature the components of a video game.

"We struggle to understand why fantasy sports apps are classified as mobile (video) games. Instead, these can be defined as a gamified version of an offline sport as users actually rely on a real-world sportsperson's performance to win points," says Lokesh Suji, an esports evangelist and director of the Electronic Sports Federation of India.

"When you play console or PC games, it is simply a form of entertainment, and there is no intent to make money. But users engaged in fantasy sports mainly play it for financial rewards or real money and not entirely because it is a form of entertainment," adds Suji.

Gaurav Assomull, cofounder of the fantasy sports platform Blitzpools, doesn't want a segment to have the eSport tag, arguing fantasy sports and esports don't fall under the same bracket.

"In my opinion, fantasy sports and esports are not the same; they do not fall in the same bracket. There is a universally accepted skill level needed for players taking part in esports tournaments. But the same does not apply to fantasy gaming and you cannot club them," Assomull said.

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