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Home   /   Fantasy games the real winner in IPL 2020

Fantasy games the real winner in IPL 2020

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While it is still illegal to bet in India, it seems that more and more Indian cricket fans are now turning towards fantasy based games especially during mega competitions such as the Indian Premier League (IPL). These fantasy game sites allow fans to take part in competitions and accumulate points which can then be converted into cash.

Clearly the strategy deployed by these firms is working which are now seeing heavy investment being poured into them. You don’t need to look further than Dream11, the sponsor for this year’s t20 tournament. While one would expect more recognised brand names such as Pepsi or Samsung to sponsor, it was Dream11 that stepped in to save the day once the original sponsor was ousted (ViVo)

Dream11 boast a userbase of more than 100 million and for a fee that is as little as $0.50, allow fans to enter contests. The fans are required to create a team of their favourite players with each player performance earning their team some points. If you are able to accumulate enough points then you can exchange them for cash.

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This loophole allows companies such as Dream11 to make millions with key industry players pitting the fantasy sports market to be worth billions of dollars very soon. The concept though rather simple is also quite addictive as explained by software engineer Amit Bhandari

“I am still awaiting my big-money day,” said the 38-year-old, who called the habit “harmless,” even though he hides it from his family, fearing disapproval.

The stigma surrounding cricket betting or just betting in general is still prevalent in the Indian society. Most will choose to hide their involvement in any form of betting be it related to fantasy sports even. Vinit Godara, cofounder of MyTeam11 is well aware of this stigma as he was unable to convince a digital payment platform or even open a corporate bank account as they feared his company could be linked to betting.

Fast forward to 2020 and Indian fans have taken to fantasy sports like duck to water. COVID-19 has certainly accelerated this as eager fans escape to such sites to combat boredom.

“The IPL has come as a boon for the fantasy gaming industry, and we have observed a significant jump in user engagement,” Godara said.

Several prominent cricket stars are also now endorsing this new craze with Virat Kohli promoting Mobile Premier League (MPL) and BCCI President Sourav Ganguly serving as the brand ambassador of My11Circle.

“We are looking at crossing 80 million users by the end of the IPL,” said Sai Srinivas, cofounder of the Mobile Premier League app.

Games24x7 are also taking advantage of the lockdown and expect a 900 percent growth in paid users compared to last as confirmed by co-founder Bhavin Pandya.

With such staggering numbers, it comes as no surprise to find more investment being poured into these sites. Since 2018, fantasy platforms have attracted more than $200 million in foreign investment. Companies from across the globe are backing up these sites including US hedge funds such as Tiger Global and Chinese online giant Tencent Holdings.

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