Home >News >India >Fantasy gaming app ads come under scanner before IPL 2020
Delhi Capitals players pose for photographs after arriving in UAE to participate in IPL 2020. (PTI)
Delhi Capitals players pose for photographs after arriving in UAE to participate in IPL 2020. (PTI)

Fantasy gaming app ads come under scanner before IPL 2020

  • My11Circle and fantasy cricket vertical BalleBaazi.com also plans to advertise on Disney+ Hotstar during IPL
  • Recently, a survey conducted by social media and community platform LocalCircles stated that a majority of Indians found ads from gaming platforms an area of concern

NEW DELHI : A day before the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) begins in UAE, digital advertising by fantasy gaming firms has come under the scanner. A report from news publishing website Techcrunch stated that Google has asked Disney+ Hotstar, IPL's official broadcaster Star India owned on-demand video streaming platform, to display a warning before running ads about fantasy sports apps.

The development came after Google on Friday decided to pull down financial services app Paytm and its fantasy sports app Paytm First Games from the Play Store for violating its gambling policies. Google said that Play Store prohibits online casinos and other unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting in India. While sports betting is banned in India, fantasy sports, where users select their favourite players and win if their preferred teams or players play well, is not illegal in most Indian states.

Disney+ Hotstar is yet to make an official comment on the matter which is significant in context to IPL where fantasy gaming planforms have invested heavily through advertising and sponsorship. Fantasy gaming platform Dream11, for instance, has bagged the title sponsorship of 2020 edition of the league for 222 crore. A bunch of online gaming and fantasy sports firms are also preparing to make a big advertising splash on television and digital platforms by partnering with Star India.

Media buyers estimate that collectively these companies are expected to spend between 250 crore and 300 crore on buying advertising spots on Star’s live sports inventory and on streaming site Disney + Hotstar.

Media buyers at top agencies said that Google cannot interfere or dictate advertising policy on digital streaming platforms including Disney+ Hotstar which largely remain self-regulated.

"Google cannot interfere when it comes to advertising on a separate platform. They can make a suggestion but cannot dictate. Moreover, IPL advertising formats are quite standard and are often screened by Board of Control for Cricket in India ( BCCI). Therefore, brand integrations are restricted to official sponsors with elements such as video duets, screenshots and emoticons," said Sujata Dwibedy, group trading director, Amplifi, Dentsu Aegis Network India.

One of the esports and fantasy gaming platform Mobile Premier League has sponsored two IPL teams Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Games24x7 owned fantasy sports platform My11Circle and fantasy cricket vertical BalleBaazi.com also plans to advertise on the video streaming platform during IPL.

"I don't think much will happen. If the issue gets further escalated then Disney+ Hotstar might decide to carry a scroll on the screen similar to the statutory warning whenever smoking scenes appear in films," said a digital media buyer on the condition of anonymity.

Recently, a survey conducted by social media and community platform LocalCircles stated that a majority of Indians found ads from gaming platforms an area of concern, especially, the ones which were similar to gambling and ones where an individual can win or lose money. 77% respondents said that they would prefer if the government will prohibit such advertisements from gaming platforms as it is similar to gambling.

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