Ten days before guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) related to online gaming and fantasy sports comes into force, the information and broadcasting ministry has directed all private television broadcasters to fall in line.
The guidelines were decided in consultation with the ministry of information and broadcasting, All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), and civil society members. The AIGF is an industry body for online skill gaming in India, its members include the Mobile Premier League (MPL), Adda52.com, Paytm First Games, and 9Stacks.
Under the new rules:
- No gaming advertisement can depict a person below the age of 18, engaging in a game of online gaming for real money win or suggesting that such persons can play these games.
- Gaming advertisements should carry disclaimers on the fact that the game involves an element of financial risk, maybe addictive and that users should play at their own risk.
- Ads should occupy no less than 20% of the space in the print ads.
- In the case of audio or visual programmes, the disclaimer must be placed in normal speaking pace at the end of the advertisement, it must be in the same language as the advertisement, and play out in both audio and visual formats.
- The advertisements should not present ‘online gaming for real money winnings’ as an income opportunity or as an alternative employment option.
- The ads should also not suggest that a person engaged in gaming activity is more successful as compared to others.
- Broadcasters should also ensure that online gaming advertisements do not promote any activity prohibited by statute or law.
Indian online fantasy sports platforms have witnessed a surge in users in the last three to four years, highlights a whitepaper released by non-profit organisation IndiaTech, citing data from a report by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS).
The segment’s user base has grown exponentially in the last three years, from 20 lakhs in 2016 to 9 Cr users in 2019, registering a 4,400% increase.
Further, the number of uses for online fantasy sports is expected to reach 10 Cr by the end of this year. This has also led to a surge in revenue for the sector, from INR 920 Cr in 2018-19 (FY19) to INR 2,400 Cr in FY20, a 160% increase in revenue.
Game On For Fantasy Sports In India
India boasts of various fantasy sports platforms such as Dream11, Mobile Premier League (MPL), MyTeam11, Halaplay, 11 Wickets and My11 Circle, among others. This year, Dream11 replaced Chinese phone-maker Vivo as the title sponsor of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL), putting fantasy sports into the spotlight. Dream11 has been an official partner of the IPL, and various other sports leagues such as the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League and the Hero Indian Super League.
It is also the official partner of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Besides Dream11, MPL is also associated with IPL franchises Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as an associate partner and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as a principal sponsor.