How did you find your start in the industry and how did you arrive at your current position?
Akshay: We were fortunate to have bagged a project on fantasy sports application development quite early in our business. This project helped us foresee the potential of fantasy sports app industry and by the end of the project, we were confident of launching an offering in the domain. We are now global leaders in developing fantasy sports solutions having built products for industry leading brands such as Arabian Gulf League, Paytm, Pro Badminton League, Essel group to name a few.
We now help companies in not only building an app but also in launching and creating a winning product. Some of our team members are now so experienced in the domain that they are experts in their own right. We recruit sports-loving people in our team to ensure that they have fun while building these products. We are working toward empowering businesses and start-ups in this domain and create an absolute ease of use for end users. So far we have created more than 300 fantasy sports platforms across the globe in different formats of fantasy (daily, season long with auction draft, Snake draft) and for Sports and non-sports fantasy (Stock market, Music, Movies, political). We have built fantasy sports platforms for official sports leagues (Arabian Gulf League, Thai Premier League, Pro badminton League) and Brands (PayTM ,Essel group) that paved our path for becoming the No#1 fantasy sports app design and development company in the world.
What do you think the industry will look like in five years?
Akshay: This industry is slated to grow because it grabs the psyche of today’s online users. There are billions of dollars invested currently and it will only multiply in the next decade. Fantasy sports will grow in leaps and bounds also with the increase in the number of mobile users and increase in awareness. There’s a whole lot of 2nd and 3rd world countries that are now waking up to this industry, a factor that would add to its growth. Now Fantasy sports is not only limited to being an online sports platform where users could win money using their knowledge about game or skills. It is now becoming a fan/ user engagement solution. Most of the leading sports leagues such as EPL, LaLIGA, IPL Fantasy, Pro Badminton League are using fantasy platform as tools of engagement. In five years down the line, I see this industry moving out of conventional ways of engagement.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the gambling sector in India in terms of legislation and regulation at the moment?
Akshay: As far as fantasy sports is concerned, there is no challenge now especially in the light of the decision by the High Court. From our experience in the industry, I can assure you that our government is already seeing the immense potential for business in this industry and this is good for everyone.
Although there are various restrictions on international operators starting something in India, what are the possibilities in the present scenario?
Akshay: It’s going to work in the same way as other international companies who have established their Indian subsidiaries (Philips India, Sony India) in India. It’s just a matter of time before global operators set up shops here.
There are various legal cases going on in High Courts that will decide the fate of skill-based games like poker and rummy. How has the progress been in the matters so far and what may be expected in terms of legal and regulatory challenges going forward?
Akshay: I am positive that those cases will only further the scope and will benefit the entire industry. As far as we are concerned, we offer only fantasy sports solutions which are completely legal in India except operating in a few contentious states such as Assam, Odisha,Telangana,Nagaland or Sikkim.
Do you think other state governments are looking at opportunities in the casino and gaming space?
Akshay: I cannot comment specifically about state governments in the casino and gaming space, but there is a lot of opportunity in fantasy sports domain in terms of gamification of fantasy sports. There’s so much scope in the non-sports fantasy games many of which we have built for our international clients. We have used the concept of fantasy sports for gamification in industries such as music, movies, awards, reality TV Shows and even in stock market and political fantasy domain.
What are the latest products that are becoming increasingly popular in India?
Akshay: Fantasy gaming is becoming very popular, everybody understands the concept now. Earlier we used to struggle in making people understand the game plays. Brands like Paytm, the Times of India are trying fantasy gaming for customer engagement, retentions and etc. Naming a few products would be unfair as there so many upcoming fantasy sports platforms that are doing good. With the kind of population we have in India, and a growing cricket and football loving demographic, there is a huge opportunity for each operator in the business.
In your own words, describe what you believe SPiCE 2019 to be.
Akshay: A great meet for people from the industry and an opportunity for all of us to exchange our knowledge about domains.
What do you look forward to by being a part of SPiCE 2019?
Akshay: I am excited to hear and participate in interesting panel discussions, industry insights and meeting people from the industry.