One shouldn’t underestimate the prospects of this launch: Sports Hub India has launched SportsHero, and online prediction and fantasy gaming website, which offers users cash prizes in excess of Rs. 1 million, reports IndianTelevision. While, at present, SportsHero appears to be just another prediction based fantasy game centered around Cricket, Football and Formula One, and no betting or monetary investment from users is required to take part in the predictive game, the background of its promoters suggests that there is much more still to come.
Sports Hub India is a 50:50 joint venture between Playwin, India’s largest “gaming and lottery” company promoted by the Essel (Zee) Group, and Sportech PLC, one of the key UK-based football gaming businesses, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The joint venture was inked earlier in January, with the companies announcing plans to invest an initial amount of GBP 2 million each to fund the start up costs of the business.
Playwin brings to the table a license to run lotteries from the Sikkim government, and over 7 years, has established an offline distribution of 12,000 retail shops/terminals. Sportech has experience in launching and running online sports-based gaming products – they own The New Football Pools. “Gaming” here refers to (Native American) Indian Gaming, a slightly more discreet term for gambling.
The T20 Dream Run contest has a top prize of rs. 150,000, and users have to choose from one of three questions to predict correctly per IPL T20 match. DeamRun can also be played via SMS ( SMS JOIN to 57575) using the Essel Group short code. The terms and conditions appear to be outdated, with details related to SportsHero Fantasy Cricket 2008. Last year, an SMS based game 6UP had run into trouble for it’s allegedly predictive nature: it has been running now without any apparent issues.
Eye On Sikkim, Football World Cup in Mind
Earlier last year, the Independent reported that key betting companies like BetFair (in partnership with Agilisys Managed Services), William Hill, Ladbrokes, alongwith 13 others were eying India, and had applied to the Sikkim Government for India’s first online gambling license. Nothing has been heard since on either the applications, or the allotment of licenses from the Sikkim Government. Perhaps as the Football World Cup in South Africa draws near, a decision will be taken.