Online gaming in India to grow 22% to reach Rs 119 bn by FY23: KPMG

Online gaming is on the rise in India, with revenues expected to grow at 22 per cent CAGR from FY18-FY23 to reach Rs 119 billion by FY23. This was revealed in ‘The Evolving Landscape of Sports Gaming in India’ report released by KPMG India and the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG), India’s first and only self-regulatory industry body for the sports gaming sector. 

Launched at IFSG’s second flagship event – GamePlan 2019 – the report provides an overview of the online gaming industry with a focus on fantasy sports and eSports. The findings are based on a survey conducted by KPMG taking into account 336 consumers who have played fantasy sports in the last 12 months, to understand their preferences and playing patterns. The report aims to create awareness about the growth drivers of the fantasy sports market in India and the stark differences between Fantasy Sports, eSports and Sports Betting. 

According to the report, for 72 per cent of the respondents, the primary motivation for playing fantasy sports is fun and excitement. Further, 69 per cent of respondents said that there were no overlaps between Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting and amongst these, 81 per cent said that playing fantasy sports required profound skill and knowledge. 

Based on the overall theme of ‘The Economy of Sports Gaming’, the GamePlan 2019 event hosted three separate panel discussions: Future of Online Sports Entertainment in India, Growth of Sports Gaming Ecosystem and Fuelling Sports Fan Engagement. Panellists included the likes of Melinda Petrunoff, Facebook; Vikas Agnihotri, Google; Navdeep Manaktala, AWS; Varun Narang,Hotstar; Ipsita Dasgupta, Pro Kabaddi League; Ricky Thussu, FIH; Girish Menon, KPMG; Harsh Jain, Dream11; Karthik Sharma, Wavemaker, Arvind Iyengar, Sportz Interactive, Akhil Suhag, FanFight, Arvind Ramachandran, Fantain and sports industry experts like Amrit Mathur, Gaurav Kapoor and Joy Bhattacharjya, PVL. 

Commenting on the occasion, John Loffhagen, President, IFSG, said, “With the rapidly growing digital infrastructure and emergence of new sports leagues, the Indian online sports gaming industry is witnessing a boom which shows no sign of slowing down. Exponential growth provides users with easy access to a vast variety of sports gaming apps, formats and genres. This could lead to potential confusion and misjudgement among players in choosing the right platform to engage with their favourite sport. As India’s only self- regulated industry body for Sports Gaming, we are dedicated to creating awareness about fantasy sports, encouraging operators to adopt ethical and best business practices and allowing sports fans to enjoy their favourite sports in a fun, exciting and safe manner.” 

Speaking on the launch of the report, Girish Menon, Partner and Head – Media and Entertainment, KPMG in India, said, “Online gaming in India is seeing increased traction due to the growth of digital infrastructure, with fantasy sports emerging as an important segment in this space. With the number of fantasy sports operators growing rapidly and the number of users on fantasy sports platforms expected to cross 100 million by 2020, this segment has the potential to spawn a whole ecosystem around it, and could help deepen user engagement with their favourite sports.” 

Key findings 

  • 74 per cent of users play fantasy sports 1-3 times a week, with the majority playing once a week
  • Around 20 per cent of the respondents reported playing more than five times a week which indicates the growing traction of the genre in the country
  • Across all age and income groups, ‘Fun and Excitement’ is the primary motivator for playing fantasy sports
  • For around 50 per cent of the respondents, the ‘Ability to manage teams virtually’, ‘Remain connected with the sport’ and ‘Utilisation of Sports knowledge’ were other important motivators for engagement
  • The ‘Opportunity to win money’ was seen as one of the motivators for around 30 per cent of respondents, however, this was only the 5th most important factor for engagement
  • 54 per cent of users play fantasy sports for free
  • 46 per cent of the respondents have played paid contests at least once in the last 12 months
  • Important to note that only 25-30 per cent of the spends on fantasy sports platforms come from the users’ pocket. 70-75 per cent of the spends are re-investments coming from previous winnings, cash bonus or periodical promotional offers given by these platforms to their users
  • Majority of users from top 7-8 cities of the country were found to be playing less frequently than some of the smaller cities in the country. Nearly 85 per cent of the respondents from the major cities play fantasy sports 1-3 times a week as compared to nearly 70 per cent of respondents from smaller cities who play more than four times a week on such platforms
  • 71 per cent of the respondents played fantasy cricket, followed by 54 per cent playing football. The non-cricket sports leagues in India are also witnessing increasing traction
  • 69 per cent of the respondents say that there are no overlaps between fantasy sports & sports betting. 81 per cent of these respondents believe that there is a significant amount of ‘Skill and Knowledge’ that goes into the selection of their fantasy sports teams. Fairness, legality and safe & secure nature of transactions are other aspects that draw users to play on fantasy sports platforms
  • Nearly 55 per cent of the respondents had an incorrect understanding of eSports, associating it exclusively with sports based games. A further 22 per cent of respondents were completely unaware of what eSports constitutes

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