The pandemic has affected our lives in a zillion ways where we learned a few things and unlearned a few. This change in the social set-up gave rise to two sectors – online gaming and ed-technology. The growth trajectory of both the sectors have been clearly phenomenal.
Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, an organization that represents venture capital and equity firms recently published a report about the funds that ed-tech companies received in 2020. According to the report, it was stated that a total of USD 2.22 Billion was invested in ed-tech companies as compared to USD 553 Million in 2019. Out of the investments received, a majority share went towards Byju’s and Unacademy.
In the same manner, the Indian gaming sector saw a 78% surge in investments. In 2019, the Indian online gaming sector received USD 97.1 Million while in 2020 it was USD 173 Million. Owing to all this, the Indian gaming sector is expected to grow at a rate of 41% every year and by 2022 it is expected to become a massive USD 2.8 Billion industry. This growth is clearly evident as the IPO by Nazara Technologies Limited got oversubscribed by 175 times.
While there is so much progress on that front, the law around real money gaming and online fantasy sports is still not uniform across the country. Other than states like Sikkim and Nagaland, there is no dedicated legislation which governs online gaming. Indian online fantasy sports platforms have to deal with the 150-year-old gambling legislation – the Public Gambling Act 1867.
For fantasy sports platforms to seamlessly carry out operations in the country, a uniform law must be regulated. Gambling or betting is now considered to be a state subject in India and with each state enacting its own legislation, it has become a herculean task for fantasy sports operators to function. Keeping this concern to the forefront, NITI Aayog has issued a paper to recognize online fantasy sports platforms as an industry and seeks to establish uniform laws across the country.
NITI Aayog wishes to recognise fantasy sports as an industry that has a strong and symbolic relationship with sports. Fantasy sports could help in fan engagement and an increased interest in a variety of sports. It is also trying to bring about a common regulatory field for online fantasy sports which will be accepted across the country. However, till the time that this uniform law is enacted, stakeholders and investors will have to patiently wait for a real change to come along.
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