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Dream 11: Fantasy or Trap

The IPL season just finished and we’re already gearing up for the biggest event in the cricketing world; the World Cup 2019. Our televisions, social media and even the streets seem to be roaring CRICKET at us and it is nearly impossible to be unaffected by the cricket craze especially if you live in India. You gotta bleed blue, buddy!

Since you’re being bombarded with these ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 adverts and social media posts, you’ve probably come across an advertisement with Dhoni (not even going  to bother explain who this is, it’s a crime to not know) chanting Khelo dimaag se. Khelo, khelo dimaag se”. And if you have like me watched or heard this ad then Dhoni’s voice  is probably chanting in your ear right now because that song is such an ear worm! It is near impossible to get it out of your head.

Have you bothered figuring out what the whole ad is about? Any idea what Dream 11 is? Or are you on the opposite end of the spectrum? Are you someone who creates a fantasy team and follows the khelo dimaag se  to the T? Have you already started strategizing and planning your Dream 11 based on the  World Cup match schedules?

Well, this article just like Kotak 811, is for everyone. For those of you that know nothing about Dream 11 and those of you that think you know everything there is to know about Dream 11. 

What is Dream 11?

Dream 11 is a fantasy sports platform that allows its users to play fantasy cricket, hockey, football and kabaddi by creating their own teams comprising of players from both the playing teams. In order to play on Dream 11, you must download the app from the official Dream 11 website or play on their website itself. Once you’ve done that follow the below mentioned steps:

dream 11
Dream 11

Step 1: Select a Match

The website and the app of Dream 11 have a list of  all upcoming matches and you must then choose a match to participate in it. Dream 11 also sends account holders reminders regarding matches that the user is likely to participate in. View the details of the match on Dream 11’s website or app and click on the match to select it and participate in it.

Step 2: Create your Dream 11 team

Based on the players of the two playing teams, create your own team. You will be required to take players from both the playing teams and not more than 7 players from one team. Each user is given 100 points for each match, and using these 100 points, users can bid for their players and create their teams. These fantasy teams are to be created keeping in mind the user’s knowledge of the sport and the players’  skills.

Step 3: Join Free and Cash Contests

Users can now participate in contests; either the free, practice ones or cash contests which require players to pay a nominal entry fee and then win cash based on the points they receive. These points are determined by how the members of their fantasy team have performed.

Is it Legal?

Dream 11 is a fantasy sports game that is based on skill. The Public Gaming Act, 1867 in Section 12 clearly states that – “Nothing in the provisions of this Act contained shall be held to apply to any game of mere skill wherever played.” According to the Supreme Court ruling, since Dream 11 is a game that requires skill it cannot be termed as gambling and hence, is legal. Basically, gambling and fantasy sports are distinct and games of ‘mere skill’ cannot be clubbed under gambling, which makes Dream 11 legal.

How much money does Dream 11 make?

Money dream 11 earn

If you are like most of the Dream 11 obsessed fans who are living under the delusion that you’re the one who’s winning through this, think again. It may seem like Dream 11 is the benevolent entertainment provider, gifting everyone with cash based on their points, it is anything but true. Yes, those that do earn points receive the promised money  in their account, but there’s more to all of this.

We’ll first start by educating you about how well the company is doing now. Dream 11’s revenue for the financial year of 2017 was Rs. 63 crores. They roped in M.S. Dhoni as their brand ambassador and launched the ‘Dimaag Se Dhoni’ media campaign during the 2018 IPL (Indian Premier League) . Following this, for the 2019 IPL they signed up seven cricketers and partnered with seven IPL teams as a part of their multi-channel marketing campaign. Dream 11’s revenue for the financial year 2018, therefore, was unsurprisingly Rs. 228 crores.

Dream 11 has the first mover advantage and in a country obsessed with cricket, with the onslaught of IPL, their user base is growing exponentially. Dream 11’s current user base is 50 million and this figure includes 2018 and only the first two months of 2019; and these figures are steadily increasing.

Dream 11 has also received the coveted unicorn status, a term applied to privately held start-up companies valued at over $1 billion.

The Financial Trap of  this Fantasy Game

It is always wiser to analyse rather than take everything on face value. And for those of you that are too lazy to do that, we’ve done the research and analysis for you.  We’re going to explain this in very simple terms with the help of an example so you can relate.

Consider Rahul who wears the Indian jersey and cheers his team and is all the more enthusiastic and watches with even more vigour and patriotism if it is an India – Pak match.

Either way, Rahul finds out about Dream 11 and decides to download the app and start playing, after all, what better way to make money than to make money through entertainment? Win – win situation you’d think. But we’d like to argue otherwise.

Rahul creates his team, picks his favourite players and is even able to change his players 10 minutes prior to the start of the match. He joins a contest of his choice and then pays the entry fee for the same.  Once the match starts, he earns points based on the performance of each of his team player and then either moves up or down the scoreboard. At the end of the match, based on his points and his position on the score board he either wins money  which could either be equivalent to the entry fee or more which means he earns a marginal profit or he could earn lesser than the entry fee which if looked at on the basis of the match is a loss; or he could win nothing at all which means through that match he has not managed to earn back his spending. Let’s assume that Rahul earned a total of Rs. 20 in this match, this money is transferred to his Dream 11 account which can be linked to his bank account or mobile wallet. You’d think that he can withdraw it or spend it now. But no, there’s a catch –  users can withdraw the money in their Dream 11 account or spend it only if it is more than Rs. 200!

This obviously  means that Rahul will keep playing till he has more than Rs. 200 in his account because having his money in his account below Rs. 200 is akin to not having any money at all as he cannot spend it.

You’d think that it’s alright, after all, he’s only attempting to earn money and then spend it without any worry. But no, what needs to be remembered is that for every cash contest, Rahul must pay an entry fee, a fee that may or may not get reimbursed over the course of the match.

This will put Rahul in a vicious cycle of paying an entry fee for a contest in a match and then participating in more to earn back the money, a cycle that goes on and on. The fact that Dream 11 includes betting for every cricket series, has football leagues, kabaddi matches, hockey tournaments and the NBA matches too makes it possible and more alluring for Rahul to go on betting. He has managed to successfully land in to a trap out of which escaping is quite difficult.

Bottom line being that Dream 11 is just like any other company. It aims at generating profits and of course that’s not a sin because that is how businesses work. However, if this fantasy game manages to convince you to stay in your fantasy while ignoring reality, be very  careful. Because, at the end of the day, your finances exist  in reality and mixing those very real finances with your fantasy may not be the smartest of ideas.

Now that you’re wiser and more enlightened after reading this article, move your eyes from this screen and focus on the bigger screen, ‘cause let’s be real, no matter what the world thinks, this #CricketKaCrown hum le jaayenge.


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