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Playing fantasy games on Facebook is now a reality in some countries

The company revealed that several fantasy games are in the pipeline and being built around various themes.

Fantasy gaming on Facebook is now a reality for its users in the US and Canada, according to a post on the company’s blog. The social media giant said that users will be able to access Facebook Fantasy Games via its iOS and Android app. It did not reveal its plans or a timeline for the global market including India. 

Facebook is in fierce competition with other social media companies over the average time users spend on their platforms, according to TechCrunch. A survey conducted by KPMG revealed that nearly 75 percent of the respondents play fantasy sports 1-3 times a week, with the majority playing once a week. Hence, the addition of fantasy games could help Facebook improve the metric of average time users spend on its platform.

What will Fantasy Gaming on Facebook look like? 

Facebook said that the games will be free to play, and will cover sports, TV shows, and pop culture content. The top players will be ranked on leaderboards but Facebook added that players will be able to create their own fantasy leagues and compete against their friends and fans. There is an option of making the league private as well. 

Image Credits: Facebook

The company has launched a game called Pick & Play Sports for now. It is a daily sports prediction game in which fans will score points for guessing the outcomes of big games accurately. Facebook also said that it was collaborating with Buzzfeed in bringing out games under the fantasy banner. Private players in the fantasy gaming market will have access to Facebook’s marketing tools to retarget participants, Inc42 said in its report

Games in the pipeline

Facebook announced that it is planning to introduce the following new fantasy games soon:

MLB Home Run Picks: The game will offer fans a chance to pick teams that they think will hit the most home runs on that particular day during the MLB Postseason. They will earn points based on the accuracy of their predictions. 

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LaLiga Winning Streak: In this game, players have a chance to predict the win of a single team during the LaLiga Santander season. They have to try to build the longest streak possible of correct predictions. 

Fantasy Survivor: FB said that it will be launching a game based on a famous reality TV show called Survivor. In the game, players will select a set of contestants to be on their Fantasy Survivor team and answer a series of questions about the upcoming episode. 

Fantasy Bachelorette: The game is a lot like Survivor insofar as it will let players select a group from the men vying for the heart of the bachelorette to be on their team and answer a series of questions about the upcoming episode.

Why are Indian states wary of fantasy gaming? 

Fantasy gaming in India is dominated by cricket with players like Dream11, MPL, Halaplay, etc. The Indian Brand Equity Foundation projected that the market is expected to be worth $3.7 billion by 2024. However, several state governments have conflated (due to the real money aspect) fantasy gaming with gambling which is illegal. As a result:

  • Andhra Pradesh passed a law banning online gambling. However, the state did not block any gambling apps and websites that offer stakes in poker, rummy, or similar games
  • Uttar Pradesh announced that it is planning to introduce a law banning online gambling in March this year.
  • Karnataka said it will introduce regulations for online gaming according to its submission in the Karnataka High Court.

Former Supreme Court Judge AK Sikri remarked recently at a Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports event that “the challenges which are still faced by fantasy sports is a matter of concern. It appears that even when there are authoritative pronouncements, some States or state legislatures are still thinking that no, such a game is to be prohibited,” 

Sikri is the FIFS’s ombudsman. He has said that the difference between gambling and fantasy gaming comes down to whether the latter is a game of skill or a game of chance.  

“And if it is a game of skill and it is not betting or gambling, obviously state legislature would not have power under Entry 34 [of the Constitution’s seventh schedule] to make laws in respect of that because it talks of betting and gambling.” Sikri said. 

He said that since courts have ruled that fantasy gaming is not gambling, it is no longer debatable. 

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“Therefore it is not a gambling or it is not betting. And as I said, the Supreme Court has dismissed at least two Special Leave Petitions and in recent last month only against the judgment of Rajasthan High Court, while dismissing the SLP, the Supreme Court has gone to the extent of saying that the issue is no more res integra. It is not a debatable issue anymore,” Sikri said.

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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