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Fantasy Gaming Boom as IPL 2024 Kicks Off

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The 17th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) commenced on Friday (March 22) with fantasy gaming unicorn Dream11 announcing a staggering 1.1 Mn new users onboarded on the first day of the tournament. Cofounder and chief executive Harsh Jain revealed the significant surge in users, alongside the platform witnessing a record-breaking 15.01 Mn concurrent users.

The IPL opening ceremony, held at Chepauk Stadium in Chennai, marked the beginning of the highly anticipated cricket extravaganza. Fantasy cricket leagues associated with IPL have soared in popularity, with Dream11 leading the way in providing a thrilling virtual gaming experience for cricket enthusiasts.

Dream11’s website emphasized the virtual skill-based nature of the game, inviting users to build their own TATA IPL 2023 Fantasy teams for entertainment and rewarding experiences. The platform has cemented its presence in IPL sponsorship, partnering with eight prominent teams including Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, and Rajasthan Royals, among others.

Last year, Dream11 witnessed a substantial influx of 5.5 Cr new users, predominantly from the 25-60 age group and spanning across India’s top 115 Tier I and II cities. Notably, the platform observed a remarkable 79% year-on-year growth in female users, reflecting the broadening appeal of fantasy gaming.

Despite regulatory challenges, including a significant show cause notice from the Directorate General of GST Intelligence, Mumbai, amounting to INR 28,294.19 Cr under Section 74 of the Central Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017, Dream11 continues to thrive. The notice, issued in September 2023, proposed a higher GST rate of 28% on the entire contest entry amount instead of the platform fee, impacting the taxation dynamics of the real money gaming sector.

However, Dream11 remains resilient, reporting a robust 32% increase in net profit to INR 187.83 Cr in the financial year 2022-2023 (FY23) and a staggering 66% surge in operating revenue to INR 6,384.49 Cr. Jain reiterated the company’s unwavering focus on the Indian market, citing ample opportunities and a steadfast commitment to local expansion during the ‘Startup Mahakumbh’ event in New Delhi.

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