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Fantasy sports giant Dream11 finds mention in this report for two significant developments. The title sponsor of the ongoing IPL 2020 recently acquired the AI fantasy sports startup FanDuniya for an undisclosed amount. The two companies have been collaborating through the IPL, and with the acquisition now complete, FanDuniya founder Ramkumar Venkatasubramanian and co-founder Viswanath Kommalapati have joined Dream11’s subsidiary, FanCode.
In more encouraging news for Dream11 and, by extension, the fantasy sports sector, the Rajasthan High Court has dismissed a petition that sought a ban on the companies` activities, claiming that fantasy sports were equivalent to gambling.
Confidence in the fantasy sports sector is clearing riding high. Bengaluru-based fantasy app GoodGamer has become the most recent startup in this space to raise funding. It has closed a massive $2.5 Million seed funding round from an undisclosed group of investors. The company launched in India last month plans to use these funds to expand its user base.
In a bid to tighten its legal framework against online gambling, China has announced plans to amend Article 303 of its criminal law that will make organizing or soliciting overseas online gambling punishable by over five years and up to 10 years of prison term.
The new gaming legislation in Germany that came into effect on October 15 places several restrictions on how online poker can be played, forcing numerous operators to exit the market.
Dream11 Acquires AI, Fantasy Sports Startup FanDuniya, Gets Legal Relief as Rajasthan HC Rejects Plea For Company Ban
Dream11 Acquires FanDuniya
Dream Sports, the parent firm of fantasy gaming behemoth Dream11, has acquired the AI-backed fantasy sports startup, FanDuniya, though it’s content and commerce arm, FanCode. The acquisition was reportedly completed this month for an undisclosed amount. With this, FanDuniya founder Ramkumar Venkatasubramanian and co-founder Viswanath Kommalapati have joined the management team at FanCode.
FanDuniya was founded in 2018 and offers users news coverage, statistical tools, and AI-based models to make informed decisions in choosing a fantasy cricket team. The site is currently inaccessible and could likely be in the process of being merged on FanCode’s platform.
FanCode was launched by Dream11 in 2019 and is an ad-free multi-sports aggregator that offers personalized news, live match scores, expert fantasy tips, among other things.
Dream11 is the title sponsor of the ongoing IPL season. The company has been working closely with FanDuniya through the cricketing season, with the latter releasing videos titled ‘Dream11 Expert Predictions by FanDuniya’ ahead of the IPL matches.
Rajasthan HC Rejects Plea Seeking Ban on Dream11`s Activities
In what comes as another legal victory for Dream11, the High Court of Rajasthan has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought a legal ban on the company.
The petitioner claimed that the fantasy sports games offered by Dream11 amounted to gambling while also alleging that the company was evading GST.
While the court has rejected the gambling charges ruling that “the format of online fantasy game is a game of mere skill,” the court said the issue of GST evasion is to be decided by the GST authorities.
In its ruling, the court said, “The result of fantasy game depends on skill of participant and not sheer chance, and winning or losing of the virtual team created by the participant is also independent of the outcome of the game or event in the real world; we hold that the format of online fantasy game is a game of mere skill and it has protection under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution.
GoodGamer App Raises US$2.50 Million in Seed Funding
Fantasy and e-sports portal GoodGamer has raised $2.5 Million in seed funding from an undisclosed group of investors. Owned by Canada-based GoodGamer Corp, the app was launched in India only last month and allows users to play real-money fantasy contests.
The Bengaluru-based company plans to utilize the funding for growing its user base. It has already onboarded bowlers Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav as brand influences during the IPL season.
VP Operations, Good Gamer India Pvt. Ltd., Ravi Nagarajachar, outlining the company’s plans for the Indian market, said, “The results from our first month of operations have proven to us what we always knew: India is a great market for us. While we will continue to push for growth, we also want to make sure our users have the best experience we can give them. We’re introducing a number of new experiences and skills-based gaming styles that Indian users haven’t seen before, including prop contests.”
CEO of GoodGamer, Charles Creighton, added, “The uptake of our platform by the market has been overwhelming, to say the least. With the help of our seed investors, we’re now able to focus on user acquisition and scale.”
China Looks to Implement 5 to 10-Year Jail Sentence For Illegal Online Gambling
China has announced plans to amend relevant sections of its Criminal Law that will deem organizing or soliciting overseas gambling punishable by a prison term of between five to 10 years. The draft for this was published on Wednesday and pertains to Article 303 of the Criminal Law.
As reported by the state-run media agency China News Service, this latest amendment would be applicable when the money involved is considered serious and high, or the case is considered to have ‘grave consequences.’
The relevant amendments have also been made available for public comments until November 19.
The broad outline suggests that the penalty would range from imprisonment for less than five years, along with a fine. In cases where a pirate mainland casino had ‘grave consequences,’ the punishment would be hiked from five to 10 years of imprisonment along with a fine.
Reacting to the latest amendment, President of Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd., Wilfred Wong Ying Wai, discounted the possibility of the amendment being aimed at Macau. “We understand the National People’s Congress is still debating the final form of that legislation. But we must remember that the main target is really gambling in foreign countries, including particularly the Internet and telephone betting,” Wai said.
Germany’s New Gaming Legislation Not Online Poker-Friendly
Germany’s new gaming legislation places a new set of restrictions on online poker. From restricting the number of tables to changes in the seating system and a stricter set of know-your-customer (KYC) rules, the new bill will significantly change the way poker is played in the country.
Though the bill is set to become law next July, the changes have already come into effect on October 15.
So, what are these restrictions that players in Germany will have to get used to? They can play a maximum of four tables at one time and not choose their seats or select tables. Another stringent restriction is that players can now only make deposits up to €1,000 per month. Additionally, they will have access to a ‘panic button that will impose a self-ban for 24 hours.
The stringent rules have had a devastating effect on the country’s online poker sector.
While operators like Ladbrokes, Redbet, Winamax, and Betfair have already exited the market, partypoker has announced that players will be migrated to a new client. In contrast, players will no longer have access to PokerStars’ Europe client.
Even GGNetwork has unveiled a manifesto of changes for German players, while Natural8 players from the country will be moved to the GGNetwork client. Another operator, 888poker, plans to move their German players to a country-specific client on November 2.
Among the other operators, Run It Once Poker has temporarily suspended its services in the country. German players on Unibet will not be able to access the desktop client any longer, though they can still use the web client that will be regulation-compliant.