Sports betting is extremely popular in India. Although illegal, there is a huge and thriving underground betting market, usually controlled by the mafia and other anti-social elements. While cricket is by far the most popular sport among punters, other sports like football and kabaddi are gradually gaining popularity.
The rise of online betting has made it very convenient for punters, who now do not need to be at the mercy of illegal bookies. One can now shop for favorable odds on the best sports betting odds site and place their bets accordingly.
In addition to sports betting, the internet era has also introduced Indians to the concept of fantasy sports. Though fantasy gaming has been popular in countries like the USA for a long time, it was ESPN Super Selector which first introduced fantasy gaming in India. The first full-fledged fantasy gaming platform in India was Dream 11, which was launched in 2008, and started a freemium service in 2012, where players could participate in paid contests.
About Dream 11
Being one of the early movers in the segment has made Dream 11 the most popular fantasy gaming platform in the country, and currently has more than 10 crore registered users. It is also the first Indian gaming startup to achieve a valuation of more than $1 billion.
So, is Dream 11 legal
Paid fantasy games on Dream 11 have often been seen as a type of betting or gambling, as it involves real money, and there have been various petitions in courts asking Dream 11 to be banned.
However, a Supreme Court judgment in 2017 ruled that playing on Dream 11, as well as other fantasy gaming platforms required `Skill´ on the part of its participants, and the outcomes are not only based on `chance´. Also, the outcome of the real-life games has no bearing on the performance of a fantasy team, and the points are awarded based in individual player performance.
Therefore, like similar previous judgments in the case of Rummy and Poker, fantasy gaming on Dream 11 and other platforms is classified as a `game of skill´ and hence exempt from the purview of existing gambling and betting laws, and is legal to play.
However, in certain states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Assam, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, and Sikkim, the laws regarding real money online games are unclear, and hence, the residents of these states can play only the free contests and cannot participate in real-money contests.
How to play fantasy sports on Dream 11
Playing on Dream 11 is pretty simple. All you need to do is create an account and deposit some money in your gaming account, which can then be used to participate in paid contests. You can also play free contests for some fun, which do not involve any real money.
You can create fantasy teams for a variety of different sports, including cricket, football, kabaddi, NFL, baseball, basketball, hockey, volleyball, and handball.
You have a fixed `budget´ of 100 credits, which can be used to `purchase´ players for your own fantasy team. Your team must contain players from both the participating teams and must contain all types of players. You will also need to choose a Captain and a Vice Captain for your fantasy team.
You can make changes in your team until the game starts, after which no changes are allowed. During the course of the game, the players in your fantasy team earn points based on their performance in the match. The captain earns 2x points, while the vice-captain earns 1.5x points.
The total points that you earn determine your position on the leader board. At the end of the game, the players who finish on the top receive cash prizes.
While certain states have brought in laws banning fantasy sports along with other online games, Dream 11 remains legal to play in most parts of India. It provides a great opportunity for sports fans to put their knowledge and passion to good use, and earn some money.