Yes, Exchange22 is India’s first fantasy sport portal based on the model of a stock exchange and is a ‘game of skill’. The relevant law in India is absolutely clear that, unlike ‘games of chance’, games which substantially require a player to apply his skill are absolutely legal.
A game of skill is when a player invests his/her time in learning, practising and refining his skill to perform in a particular game.
The Supreme Court in the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. K Satyanarayana, AIR 1968 SC 825, stated,
“A game of skill is one in which the element of skill predominates over the element of chance”.
Further, the Supreme Court in the case of KR Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 1996 SC 1153, while defining what constituted skills, stated,
“A game of skill, on the other hand – although the element of chance necessarily cannot be entirely eliminated – is one in which success depends predominantly upon the superior knowledge, training, attention, experience and adroitness of the player shall be classified as a game of skill”.
The principal legislation governing gambling in India is the Public Gambling Act, 1867 hereinafter referred to as “the Act”. The Act criminalises ‘gambling’ in a public forum and the keeping of a ‘common gaming house’. The Act, however, creates an important exception in favour of games of skill, by stating that the provisions of the Act shall not be held to apply to any ‘game of mere skill’ wherever played.
Fantasy Sports are not dependent on any outcome related to any real-life event and it is entirely based on the skillset of the participant(s) who uses their knowledge of the sport to determine the probable players likely to play in a certain match, a players’ forms, weather conditions and such other related factors. The result so achieved by a participant of a Fantasy Sports Game is entirely based on his/her skillset.
The Bombay High Court in the case of Gurdeep Singh Sachar v. Union of India relating to the legality of ‘Online Fantasy Sports Gaming’ offered by a certain fantasy sports platform has held that the games played on the fantasy platform were ‘games of skill’ and not ‘games of chance’. The court ruled that if the result of the game/contest is determined merely by chance or accident, any money put on stake with consciousness of risk and hope to gain, would be 'gambling' or 'betting'. Since that is not the case in fantasy games played on such platform, the same does not amount to gambling or betting.
Exchange22 is strictly for users who are at least 18 years of age.
Currently, the residents of Assam, Odisha, Telangana, Nagaland and Sikkim are not permitted to play pay-to-play formats of any online games. The laws in these states are unclear as to whether games of skill may be played for a cash prize.