88 users say Online Fantasy Sports increased their interest in sports: Survey. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, June 7 : Consumer VOICE, a prominent consumer protection group, has published a user survey report, titled 'De-mystifying Common Myths Surrounding Online Fantasy Sports'.

The report explores the impact of Online Fantasy Sports (OFS) on sports engagement and addresses some common myths surrounding OFS platforms. The survey received close to 10,000 responses from users of various OFS platforms.

The report examines whether the actual user perceptions of Online Fantasy Sports are in consonance with myths centered around OFS platforms being addictive, potentially resulting in negative societal impacts and making users fearful of incurring financial losses. The objective of the report is to ensure that a representative voice of consumers becomes an integral part in the development of OFS as a product, its adoption, and any forthcoming regulation.

Key findings from the survey include: 88 per cent of the users reported that their interest in sports increased after participating in Online Fantasy Sports contests.

81 per cent of the users agreed that by virtue of using Online Fantasy Sports platforms, they have become more aware of non-cricket sports like kabaddi, hockey, and handball.

85 per cent of the users agreed that the option of participating in free contests allowed them to participate without fear of incurring any financial loss.

Close to 90 per cent of the users said that the terms of use for paid contests were easy to find and understand.

More than 73 per cent of users spend over 30 minutes researching statistics and other information to make their Online Fantasy Sports teams before a match.

The uniqueness of OFS platforms makes users more engaged with a variety of sports and promotes their analytical abilities. This becomes a major reason to distinguish it from gambling/betting since the OFS platform format focuses on skill and not luck.

With the terms and conditions made easily accessible, users perceive Online Fantasy Sports as a financially safe, skill-based activity which augments their interest and engagement with sports.

Ashim Sanyal, Chief Operating Officer of Consumer VOICE, said: "Online Fantasy Sports industry has immense potential for contributing to India's sports economy, however, the various myths surrounding it need to be dispelled first. This will provide for a collaborative environment in which regulations can adequately safeguard consumer interests while also allowing the industry to drive economic growth in a transparent and accountable manner." This report highlights the dissonance between how users of OFS platforms perceive fantasy sports vis-a-vis the common myths surrounding it. Therefore, to ensure the continued and responsible growth of the OFS industry and protection of end consumer interests, it is recommended that NITI Aayog's draft guidelines on regulating Online Fantasy Sports be formalised.

This will enable states to draft uniform legislations to protect the interests of consumers and promote responsible growth of the industry along the same lines as NITI Aayog's guidelines. Additionally, awareness building of the terms of use of OFS platforms should be continued among key stakeholders, including government actors, civil society organisations, academicians, consumer rights groups, and the public.

Consumer VOICE is one of the leading consumer organisations in India, working under "Jago Grahak Jago" programme of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs besides other ministries, regulatory bodies, standards organisations, world bodies and Standing Committees of Parliament.

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