MIB alerts broadcasters on misleading online gaming ads

Owing to the concerns over misleading advertisements on online gaming and fantasy sports, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued advisory to TV channels to follow guidelines issued by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) on 24 November.

MIB stated, “All broadcasters are advised that the guidelines issued by ASCI are complied with and advertisements broadcast on television adhere to the guidelines of the ASCI. It may also be ensured that advertisements do not promote any activity which is prohibited by statute or law.”

Quite a number of commercials on online gaming, fantasy sports and more are being aired on television, which appear to be misleading, and do not correctly convey the financial and other risks associated to the consumers, MIB further added in the advisory. 

Hence, the governing body, along with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, held a stakeholders consultative meeting on 11 November with ASCI, News Broadcasters Association (NBA), Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), All India Gaming Federation, Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports and the Online Rummy Federation.

After discussions, it was agreed that ASCI would issue appropriate guidelines for the benefit of the advertisers and broadcasters to ensure that the ads are transparent and protect consumers interests.

According to the recent ASCI guidelines, no gaming advertisement may depict any person under the age of 18 years engaged in playing an online game for real money winnings, or suggest that such people can play these games.

Bimal Julka appointed as the chairman of FIFS

The Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), has announced the appointment of  Bimal Julka as its chairman. In his new role, Julka will work closely with all the stakeholders to further strengthen the operating standards of the Indian fantasy sports industry. Julka is taking over from  John Loffhagen, who served as the chairman of FIFS for over three years.  Loffhagen will assume the role of a strategic advisor and support FIFS on collaborating with relevant international bodies in the industry.

With over four decades of service in the Government at both state and national levels, Julka is an Indian administrative service (IAS) officer of the 1979 batch belonging to the Madhya Pradesh Cadre. He held the prestigious position of chief information commissioner, Government of India, until September 2020. Prior to that, Julka has held several senior positions in the Ministry of Defence, Civil Aviation, Information and Broadcasting, External Affairs, Finance, Commerce and Public Relations with the government of India.

Commenting on the appointment, FIFS CEO Anwar Shirpurwala said, “We are very fortunate to have Mr Bimal Julka join FIFS as the Chairman. His impeccable reputation and principles of good governance precede him. Having such a senior dignitary, like Mr Julka, representing fantasy sports will strengthen the industry’s credibility, and we are sure to witness new strides towards reformations and standardisation of the rapidly growing fantasy sports industry.”

Talking about the fantasy sports industry and FIFS, Julka said, “Fantasy sports is a new and disruptive industry that has great potential to strengthen and promote sports in India through meaningful fan engagement. While fantasy sports is seeing unprecedented growth in both users and operators, there arises an equal need to protect the users and promote responsible growth.  I am happy to be part of FIFS and look forward to supporting & guiding the fantasy sports industry in achieving its full potential by affirming high standards and self-regulation.”

Breaking: FIFS Gameplan 2020 postponed due to spike in coronavirus affected people

Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), India’s first and only self-regulatory industry body for Fantasy Sports has revealed that the Game Plan 2020 has been postponed due to coronavirus outbreak a day before the event.

“GamePlan 2020 which was scheduled on 5 March 2020 at Le Meridien, Delhi. Due to the recent developments with regards to Coronavirus, Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) have decided to postpone the conference. We shall get back to you within a week with rescheduled dates for GamePlan 2020,” says the official mail.

This year’s event is themed as ‘Good for Sports, Good for India’, and is scheduled to take place at Le Meridien, New Delhi on 5 March  2020. However, the event has been postponed owing to the immediate spike in the number of coronavirus cases from five to 28.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan announced that out of 21 Italian nationals, 16 of them have been found positive for coronavirus. They have been sent to Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s (ITBP) quarantine facility in Chhawla.

Besides, six family members of the Delhi man who was infected with coronavirus have also tested positive for the virus. “On conducting contact tracing of the person tested positive in Delhi, we came to know that he infected six members of his family who are in Agra. All six members tested positive for coronavirus,” Vardhan said.

Out of the 28 positive coronavirus cases in India, 16 are Italians. A 69-year-old Italian tourist was found infected in Jaipur yesterday and now his wife and 14 other tourists and an Indian driver who travelled with them have also been found positive. Their samples were sent to National Institute of Immunology (NIV), Pune.

Analysing the spike rate in coronavirus affected people, FIFS has decided to take the step to temporarily postponed the event as the official mail further expressed that “…we will update you on the revised date very soon.”

With over 250 attendees, GamePlan 2020 was supposed to witness the presence of several industry stalwarts, who aimed to deliberate on the impact of Fantasy Sports on real-life sports and the Indian economy.

IFSG renamed as FIFS before the launch of Game Plan 2020

The fantasy sports industry has boomed over the past few years. Sports in India is undergoing rapid change, and given India’s massive fan base and economic muscle, the future holds enormous potential for sports-related activities. Realising the prospect of the market Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG) was  India’s first and only Fantasy Sports self-regulatory industry body was established in 2017 to protect consumer interest and create standardised best practices in the Fantasy Sports industry. Over time the development and market have peaked and recently IFSG has renamed it as Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) before the launch of Game Plan 2020 scheduled on 5 March.

The main purpose of  FIFS is to self-regulate the sports gaming industry comprising of all online sports-based Games of Skill (which may include e-sports, fantasy sports and casual sports games). FIFS will also continue to focus its attention on the growth of the fantasy sports industry that is proven to increase real-life sports consumption. Not only that FIFS is now eager to pay attention only towards the later, but with the federation also believing that fantasy has a huge market in India currently.

Commenting on this development, FIFS Chairman John Loffhagen said, “In the last two years, we have seen exponential growth in the Fantasy Sports industry. From five million users and 25 operators in 2017, the fantasy sports industry has now grown to 140+ operators with 80 million+ users. This rapid growth is a testament to the potential of fantasy sports in India. The name change from IFSG to FIFS is a result of our recognition of this disruptive and emerging sector and its need for self-regulation to sustain growth. We look forward to working with the operators and stakeholders in creating and maintaining high industry standards.”

FIFS has successfully created guidelines and regulation for establishing and maintaining high industry standards for fantasy sports while also creating awareness about the sector & its potential by:

  • Launching the fantasy sports industry’s first-ever Charter in 2019
  • FIFS has successfully conducted two seasons of its flagship event – GamePlan, India’s only Fantasy Sports conference
  • In 2018, the body launched ‘Stars of Tomorrow’, an athlete support program, in collaboration with Dream11 Foundation and GoSports Foundation
  • Launched reports on legality, landscape, growth potential and impact of fantasy sports on sports in India

FIFS currently has 33 members, one Ombudsman  Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri ( Retd.), and four strategic advisors include Professor Ratnakar Shetty (former BCCI chief administrative officer), Amrit Mathur (former secretary sports authority of India), Dilip Dixit (former additional commissioner of sales Tax) and AN Roy (retired director general police).

Game Plan is an annual conference organised by Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) aiming to provide a common platform to stakeholders across multiple related industries in order to support & strengthen the rapidly growing industry of Fantasy Sports. The platform provides with an excellent opportunity to have dialogues with Industry pioneers and stalwarts. The first edition was launched in 2018 and the variety of participants and range of discussions have excelled.  This year adding to the series the Game Plan conference will have representatives from various ministries and government departments to address various crucial policy level contributions. With chief guest as Niti Ayog CEO Amitabh Kant this year’s speakers are lined as Dream11 CEO and co-founder Harsh Jain,  AWS WorldWide technical leader gaming  Nari Gopala, FIFS strategic advisor Amrit Mathur, Digital Native Business head Navdeep Manaktala, Delhi Capitals  CEO Dhiraj Malhotra, FanCode cofounder Prasana Krishnan, KPMG partner Girish Menon.









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