Fantasy Sports Laws & Regulations in India

Is fantasy sports legal in India? Fantasy sports law in India is a complex yet evolving landscape, influenced by a blend of federal and state regulations. At the core, fantasy sports are considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance, which makes them legal in most parts of India. The Supreme Court of India and various High Courts have upheld this distinction, thereby allowing the growth of fantasy sports platforms like Dream11, My11Circle and MPL under the current legal framework.

Regulation of fantasy sports in India, however, is not entirely uniform. While the central government has not yet established comprehensive laws specifically governing fantasy sports, several states have enacted their own regulations, creating a framework of legal standards across the country. For instance, states like Assam, Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have imposed restrictions or bans on fantasy sports, classifying them under gambling laws. Conversely, other states embrace the industry’s potential economic benefits and consumer interest. As the industry continues to expand, the need for a systematic national regulatory framework becomes increasingly imperative to harmonize the regulation of fantasy sports in India. 

Fantasy Sports Laws & Regulations in India

The legal status of fantasy sports in India is primarily determined by whether these games are considered games of skill or games of chance. According to fantasy sports law in India, games of skill are legal and not categorized as gambling. Understanding the intricate regulations of fantasy sports in India is crucial for both operators and participants.

I. Public Gambling Act, 1867

The Public Gambling Act, 1867, is a central law that prohibits gambling in India, except for games of skill. This act, which is over 150 years old, criminalizes public gambling and the operation of common gaming houses. However, it explicitly excludes games of skill from its ambit. The act imposes penalties such as fines or imprisonment for those involved in public gambling activities, but games requiring skill are legally protected and are not considered gambling activities under this law​​.

II. State-Specific Laws

While the Public Gambling Act provides a general framework, individual states have the authority to regulate gambling activities within their territories. States like Nagaland and Sikkim have enacted laws that permit and regulate online gaming, including fantasy sports. For example, the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2015 and the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Act, 2008, allow and regulate fantasy sports based on their categorization as games of skill. Conversely, states such as Assam, Odisha and Telangana have opted to prohibit even skill-based fantasy games, making them illegal within their jurisdictions. Therefore, understanding these state-specific regulations is essential for compliance with the regulation of fantasy sports in India.

III. The Information Technology Act, 2000

The Information Technology Act, 2000, governs online activities, including fantasy sports platforms. It outlines regulations for digital transactions, data privacy and cybersecurity, impacting how fantasy sports platforms operate within the legal framework. Compliance with this act is crucial for online fantasy sports operators to ensure they protect user data and maintain secure platforms. The act also requires platforms to prevent any activities that could be deemed illegal under Indian law, thereby supporting the broader regulatory framework for fantasy sports law in India​.

IV. The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021

These rules are part of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for digital platforms. The rules mandate that intermediaries, must follow due diligence protocols such as publishing terms of use, ensuring user data privacy and implementing grievance redressal mechanisms. Compliance with these rules is crucial for fantasy sports platforms to avoid legal complications and ensure user trust. This regulatory framework plays a pivotal role in the regulation of fantasy sports in India​.

V. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, safeguards the interests of consumers and holds businesses accountable for unfair trade practices. For fantasy sports platforms, this means ensuring transparency in their operations, providing accurate information about the games, and protecting users from fraudulent activities. The act empowers consumers to seek redressal for grievances through consumer courts, which is a critical aspect of the regulations of fantasy sports in India. Ensuring compliance with this act helps in maintaining a trustworthy relationship with users​​.

VI. The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) Self-Regulation

The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) is a self-regulatory body that sets guidelines and best practices for the fantasy sports industry. While not a government entity, FIFS provides a code of conduct that members must follow, including fair play, transparency and responsible gaming. Adhering to these guidelines helps platforms demonstrate their commitment to ethical standards and enhances their credibility. This self-regulation complements the legal framework and supports the overall regulations of fantasy sports in India​.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the fantasy sports law in India involves understanding a complex legal landscape. The major points to consider include the distinction between games of skill and games of chance, as established by the Public Gambling Act of 1867 and various Supreme Court rulings.

Staying updated with the legal landscape of fantasy sports is essential for both operators and participants to navigate effectively. Understanding the fantasy sports law in India helps avoid legal pitfalls and ensures that businesses can operate smoothly. Moreover, being aware of the regulations of fantasy sports in India allows operators to adapt to changes and maintain compliance, thus protecting their investments and ensuring a positive experience for users​.

Navigate Fantasy Sports Laws with Expertise from Burgeon Law

Burgeon Law’s understanding and proactive approach to legal challenges in gaming and sports law ensure that clients are well-prepared to meet regulatory requirements. Our services help clients stay ahead in the competitive fantasy sports industry by providing tailored legal solutions​. To explore further, visit our Gaming & Sports Law service page. The legal solutions offered cater specifically to the nuances of the fantasy sports industry, ensuring compliance with the regulations of fantasy sports in India.


1. What are the key laws governing fantasy sports in India?

The key laws governing fantasy sports in India include the Public Gambling Act of 1867, which differentiates between games of skill and games of chance and various state-specific laws such as the Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act, 2015. Compliance with the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, is also crucial for operators​​.

2. How do state laws affect fantasy sports operations in India?

State laws significantly impact fantasy sports operations in India. While some states like Nagaland and Sikkim have regulated and permitted fantasy sports, others like Assam, Odisha, and Telangana have banned them. These variations mean that operators must be aware of and comply with specific state regulations to avoid legal issues. This framework of laws necessitates a tailored approach to compliance depending on the state​​.

3. What are the compliance requirements for fantasy sports in India?

Compliance requirements for fantasy sports in India include adhering to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which mandate due diligence protocols, user data privacy and grievance redressal mechanisms. Additionally, operators must comply with the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, to avoid unfair trade practices and ensure transparency. State-specific licenses and adherence to FIFS self-regulatory guidelines are also important​.

4. How have recent court rulings impacted fantasy sports in India?

Recent court rulings have significantly impacted fantasy sports in India by clarifying the legal status of these games as games of skill. The Supreme Court and various High Courts, have upheld that fantasy sports platforms like Dream11 involve substantial skill, distinguishing them from gambling. These rulings provide a legal foundation that supports the legitimacy of fantasy sports under Indian law​​.

5. What are the penalties for non-compliance with fantasy sports regulations in India?

Penalties for non-compliance with fantasy sports regulations in India can include fines and imprisonment. For example, under the Public Gambling Act, 1867, penalties include fines up to INR 200 or imprisonment of up to three months for running a gaming house. State-specific laws may impose stricter penalties. Additionally, non-compliance with the Information Technology Act and Consumer Protection Act can result in significant legal and financial repercussions​.

6. How do consumer protection laws apply to fantasy sports platforms in India?

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, applies to fantasy sports platforms by ensuring that these platforms do not engage in unfair trade practices. They must provide clear and accurate information about their services, maintain transparency in terms of fees and charges, and safeguard user’s personal data. Platforms must also provide efficient grievance redressal mechanisms to handle consumer complaints effectively. ​


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