History of Daily Fantasy Sports in India

DFS India Crowd

Daily Fantasy Sports is a new and exciting game of skill where players can select fantasy teams from real-world professional sports. The aim is to build a team that can score the most points compared to other participants, with the best players receiving cash rewards in real-money DFS contests/

Daily Fantasy Sports began in the United States way back in 1952, however it has only been in recent years that it has really exploded around the world.

It was in 2001 that fantasy sports first landed in India, via ESPN Star Sports, however after just 2 years their Super Selector game was phased out until it was eventually stopped.

It would be just over a decade before daily fantasy sports would re-emerge. In 2016 it was estimated that around 2 million users in India were participating in DFS contests. However that number has ballooned since, with the estimates suggesting some 20 million people are now playing fantasy sports in India in 2018 and that number is set to explode to 100 million by 2020.

Naturally cricket, especially the Twenty20 format, is the most frequently played fantasy sport in India, however the other forms of cricket are also popular, as is the NBA, Football and Kabaddi.

In 2017, after a complaint made to the courts and the High Court in India, it was ruled by both that Daily Fantasy Sports are indeed a game of skill, because players had to “continually track player activity, sporting events, previous records, weather and other factors” which meant that DFS are vastly more than a game of luck. This decision was very similar to one reached under similar circumstances in the United States.

players have to continually track player activity, sporting events, previous records, weather and other factors

This decision opened the door for many new and some innovative DFS sites and apps in India, to the point that there is reportedly around 60 DFS operators in India in 2018. The industry is still growing at such a rapid rate that it is expected to be matching the US market in just a few years time.

A culture of Daily Fantasy Sports players has begun and given the rapid growth from 2016 to 2018, India is seen already as the next biggest DFS market in the world.