06 Nov

The Madras High Court has issued notices to India cricket team captain Virat Kohli and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly for endorsing online cricket fantasy league apps.

The move comes after a petition was filed by lawyer Mohammad Rizvi following the suicide of a young man who lost money by participating in gambling applications. The plea also claims that online gambling is plunging Indians into debt. Kohli and Ganguly need to respond to the notice by November 19.

Virat Kohli endorses the fantasy sports platform MPL, which was named this week as the new official kit sponsor of the Indian cricket team, while Ganguly endorses the app My11Circle. The title sponsor of this year’s Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition is online fantasy sports platform Dream11.

Indian fantasy sports platforms have seen robust user engagement since the IPL started in September. The interest in this year’s competition has perhaps been more intense, as the tournament is being played in the UAE as India battles the Covid-19 pandemic.

A report by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports said the userbase of online fantasy platforms in India is expected to pass the 100 million mark by the end of 2020. According to KPMG, industry revenue in the country is already $43.8bn and is projected to reach $118.8bn by 2023.

But the growth has also attracted the attention of critics and legislators who see the sector as back-door promotion of betting and gambling.

John Stephenson


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