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Dream11 on Google Play Store from September 28. What does this indicate for the future of Fantasy Sports in India?

India’s Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) industry, which includes companies like Dream Sports (Dream11) and Mobile Premier League (MPL), appears to have made a big move in its battle against Google.

The Android maker released a new set of Play Store guidelines on Thursday (September 8th) announcing the launch of a pilot program allowing Indian Fantasy Sports apps to be distributed through the Play Store.

Google had previously maintained its hardline stance of excluding Indian Fantasy Sports apps from its platform due to its gambling policies. Indian Fantasy Sports platforms had argued that several courts in India (including the Supreme Court of India) had previously referred to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) as “games of skill”, thus separating them from games of chance.

Credits – Google

Google’s pilot will start on September 28, 2022 and last for one year (September 28, 2023), during which DFS developers will be able to register on Play Store if they meet certain conditions. These include rules such as to be incorporated in India and have precautions in place like AGE verification to prevent children from using it.

The development comes at a time when online fantasy sports games are in the limelight in India, due to its huge reach and possible GST taxation. Google Play Store is one of the largest app marketplaces in the world.

Reaction from people in the Indian fantasy sports industry

“Google Play Store finally enabling fantasy sports and rummy apps is a progressive step. Even though this is only a one-year pilot project, but with all the legal uncertainty around this industry, this is definitely good news for fantasy rigs and DFS players,” said Peyush Sharmaone of the most followed fantasy sports experts in India.

“The decision is welcome. The field of fantasy sports has been growing for quite some time now, providing an income for many people in the country. Although this also attracts attention from a taxation point of view, I hope the government will understand and encourage this area rather than taxing it at higher tax rates,” said Nikhil (@CricCrazyNIKS), one of the most active Fantasy Sports Twitter handles in India.

“Google finally realized that it couldn’t afford to shut out this massive and rapidly growing industry just because of the biases it has. Fantasy Sports is a game of skill, and their meteoric growth had already been predicted since. This move will only strengthen the cause and further prosper the growth of the industry,” said Arjun Kumara popular Fantasy Cricket pundit.

“It would be amazing for the Indian fantasy sports industry according to its market expansion process. This will help them expand quickly to a wider audience,” said Kartik Vyasanother fantasy sports expert.

Fight Between Google Play Store and Indian Fantasy Sports Apps

In September 2020, Google sparked controversy by temporarily suspending the Paytm app for promoting its Fantasy Sports service called Paytm First Games.

The US tech giant and Indian fantasy platforms like Dream11 are embroiled in a long-running dispute over the listing issue. Play policies for Google’s Play Store excluded these companies from distributing their apps to Android users through Google’s platform, even though Apple’s App Store allowed them to do so.

Process to get listed on Google Play Store

Indian Fantasy Sports developers will need to complete and submit an application form if they wish to participate in this program. But there is no guarantee that you will be eligible for this program even after applying. Google claimed that it will first assess the application forms and then announce the appropriate candidates of the result within 7 business days of form submission.

Indian Fantasy Sports Industry Assessment

The fantasy sports industry in India has a user base of around 13 crores – the highest in the world. India’s fantasy sports industry is expected to grow from Rs 34,600 crore in FY21 to around Rs 1,650,000 crore by FY25, according to a report by the Indian Fantasy Sports Federation (FIFS). ) and Deloitte.

Another factor that has forced Google to change its longstanding position is the massive rise of the industry in the recent past. Although these applications are not yet available on the Google Play Store, the sector has seen three start-ups – Dream11, Mobile Premier League and Games 24×7 – become unicorns, i.e. private companies with a valuation of $1 billion or more.

According to a source briefed on the matter, Google chose to allow Indian Fantasy Sports apps under the pilot program “due to the rapidly changing nature of the fantasy gaming industry in the country.”

Considering the huge market, rapid growth and valuation of this industry, this move by Google was imminent. The decision will not only help Indian Fantasy Sports apps to flourish but also could prove to be a vital reason for the crucial contribution to the Indian economy through taxes via this sector.