The Indian Premier League (IPL) has generated euphoria among cricket fans, boosting the popularity of fantasy cricket applications. Icons such as Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have been promoting such platforms, an report shows India is the world’s largest fantasy sports market, with over 150 fantasy gaming platforms catering to 130 million registered players.
The entry fee to participate is as low as Rs 10, with the ultimate winning amount reaching up to Rs 60 crore. Players choose their playing 11 and are awarded points based on how well individual players in their squad perform.
Most people only slightly increase their investment, with platforms like Dream11 charging 15% as fees, which eat into any winnings. However, winning money by putting in as little as Rs 10 can be addictive, and the time spent researching players can disrupt daily routines and work.
Although some people have won large sums of money, the chances of winning the top prize are infinitesimal.
The process begins by selecting your playing 11, with each player assigned a specific number of credit points. Upon completing the KYC verification, you receive approximately 100 credits to start.
Your team should include players from both sides competing that day, and you earn points based on each player’s individual performance.
For instance, if you choose Virat Kohli (RCB) and Umesh Yadav (KKR) for your fantasy team during an RCB vs KKR match, and Kohli scores a century, you will earn 16 points. Conversely, if Kohli gets out on a duck, you will lose 2 points.
Similarly, if Umesh Yadav bowls a maiden over, you will gain 12 points, while a 5-wicket haul will earn you an additional 16 points. After creating your team, you can pay the entry fee to enter the competition of your choice. The maximum prize amounts vary from Rs 50 crore to Rs 3,000.
One can also participate in practice/free contests where the player with the most players on their team who score the most points wins the top prize, with the remaining prize pool being divided among those with fewer points.
For example, in a Rs 55 crore pool contest, the first-place winner could receive Rs 2 crore, while those ranked below 50,000 may win between Rs 40-140. Typically, the money is credited within 3-4 days. In 2021, Indians spent around Rs 7,200 crore playing fantasy sports, but most people tend to win only slightly more than what they invest, as platforms like Dream11 charge 15% as fees.
Mumbai-based Neha Naik, a regular Dream11 player for 5 years, invests an average of Rs 1,500 per week during the IPL season and wins/loses around Rs 2,000. While it is possible to win big, it is rare, with a Madhya Pradesh-based auto driver winning Rs 1.5 crore during the Kolkata vs Punjab match, all by investing Rs 49. With over 50 lakh people participating in every mega prize pool, the chances of winning it all are very slim.
To increase one’s chances of winning, platforms offer specific, high-stakes contests with a relatively small number of participants and huge winning amounts (up to Rs 1 crore), but the entry fee can be as high as Rs 10,000 per game.
There is also the issue of time, as choosing the right team requires researching multiple aspects like pitch conditions, player performance, and the most viable captain and vice-captain.
This can disrupt daily routine and work, and some players even battle anxiety disorders due to their inability to break free from fantasy gaming. Additionally, winnings from such games are classified under “income from other sources” and are subject to a flat 30% tax rate from April 1, 2023.