MPL Adds World Cricket Championship Rivals to Its Platform Ahead of IPL

Mobile Premier League (MPL), a real-money skill gaming and esports platform, has added World Cricket Championship (WCC) Rivals game to its collection of crickets games, just in time for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

MPL now hosts five cricket games including fantasy, cricket prediction and other skill-based games. WCC Rivals is a skill-based game in which gamers can play one-one-one with their selected teams for batting and bowling innings. The game is played in real time and is a multi-player game.

“We are excited to bring WCC Rivals to the MPL platform. We hope to see even more excitement from WCC fans as they can now monetise their skills in the game,” said PR Rajendran, Founder and CEO, Nextwave Multimedia.

“Cricket in the digital world goes much beyond just Fantasy. By getting one of the world’s biggest cricket games — WCC — we have given our users yet another skill-based game to monetise their cricket and gaming skills. As a platform, we are constantly adding games that our users want to experience,” said Sai Srinivas Kiran, Co-Founder and CEO, MPL.

“I am very excited and glad to introduce WCC Rivals to the MPL family. Our users have always loved our Cricket games and I am sure WCC Rivals will do great on MPL given its 1-on-1 gameplay… We thought this was the right time to expand our Cricket games collection given the Indian Team’s recent excellent show on the field, and in the days leading to the IPL,” said Shubham Malhotra, Co-Founder, MPL.

WCC Rivals is owned by chennai-based Nextwave Multimedia, a gaming and digital content developer. The game is a part of the World Cricket Championship family of games. Nextwave has about 100 million downloads across platforms and has earned various awards and accolades for its games including WCC Rivals.

MPL has over 35 skill-based games on its platform, covering sports like cricket, football and basketball and games like chess and pool. MPL recently renewed its association with its brand ambassador Virat Kohli, Captain, Indian cricket team.


Ninth On-shore Casino Gets Nod from Goan Government

The state government of Goa has given a nod to open another onshore casino in the state. As per the sources of Times of India in the Home department of Goa, this will be the ninth licensed onshore casino in the state.

The said casino will occupy 300 square mt. in a five-star hotel at Kadamba plateau near Panjim, and it will have 29 tables and capacity of about 100 guests. Besides this, it will feature 17 electronic card games, five slot machines, four roulette tables and one slot machine.

There were a total of 11 on-shore casinos in Goa till the year 2018. Three on-shore Goa casinos went out of business in March 2018, when the BJP-led state government announced a hike in annual license fees for both onshore and offshore casinos. For both types of casinos, the license renewal fee was also raised from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 1 crore.

Recently, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced that from Feb 1 2020 Goans are banned from entering and playing in Goa casinos, unless they were employed by the casinos. The minister also announced the designation of the Commercial Tax Commissioner as Gaming Commissioner under Section 13C of the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act as amended in 2012 by the previous Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. Sawant also stated that the Gaming Commissioner will have the right to enter any onshore or offshore casino and ask for personal identification of anyone in the facility.

In a related development, as per a recent report by Navbharat Times, Lobo suggested that to revive Goa’s economy more casinos should be added to Goan rivers like Chapora (North Goa) and Zuari (South Goa) and at Mopa airport. He added that casino vessels on the river Mandovi should not be moved. He further assured that Matka, a form of lottery, will not be shut down in the state.

Lobo added that Matka should be legalised in Goa to improve the GST collection of the state from this popular, yet illegal, game. Interestingly, Lobo had made comments supporting legalisation of matka and continuation of casino industry in the state a few weeks ago, as well

The Port Minister’s views on casinos on Goan rivers are in stark contrast to that of the BJP-led state government, who has assured that the casinos on the river Mandovi will be relocated. As per Lobo, casinos ‘help the state treasury’ by paying annual license fees and other revenue contributions like GST. He also stated that every vessel on the river Mandovi employs about 400 employees, helping generate employment in Goa.


Deltin Inaugurates Its First International Casino at Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu

Delta Corp Limited has expanded its presence beyond Indian borders by recently launching its first international casino at the Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. The casino has been launched as part of an agreement between the Deltin Group and Everest Hospitality and Hotel Pvt. Ltd. 

Delta Corp, through an announcement to the stock exchanges, last month stated that it had received a license to operate a casino at the Marriott Hotel in Kathmandu. 

As per the company, opening of a Deltin Casino in Kathmandu will boost the casino-tourism landscape in Nepal and contribute to Nepal government’s Visit Nepal Year 2020 program. ‘Visit Nepal Year 2020’ is a program in which the government and tourism ministry of Nepal has committed the year 2020 to the development of the tourism industry in the Himalayan nation.

The newly opened casino has employed about 250 locals as employees, who have been trained for six months to meet the casino’s standards of service, as reported by BW Hotelier. Through this venture, Deltin aims at raising the level of luxury gaming experience, hospitality and entertainment in Nepal.

Anil Malani, President and CEO of Deltin Group said, “We believe that compliance and ethics is an integral aspect to our business and so we are happy to join hands with Everest Hospitality and Hotel Pvt Ltd owners of the Marriott Hotel, as both our companies share common values professionalism and excellence in service; our shared values and parallel vision reassures that our business is in safe hands here in Nepal.”

Read more about Delta Corp.


Raj Kundra’s Viaan Industries Starts Controversial Real Money Housie App

Controversial British businessman and Viaan Industries Limited’s Chairman, Raj Kundra has recently launched Housie Quiz, a real money, online housie and quiz game app. The game has been produced by Viaan Industries for Android and iOS. 

Housie or Tambola is a popular game among Indian households. However, success in this game involves little skill and high amount of luck or chance.

Viaan Games’s House Quiz allows players to purchase up to two tickets of Rs. 25 each. The players can choose to play through the live feed format at 8 pm everyday or play through various randomly generated number games held throughout the day. The twist in the House Quiz game from Kundra is that a quiz question is asked to players after every number, and if a player gets the answer to the question right, they get the number, too, if it’s there in the player’s tickets. On incorrect answers, the player’s ticket number becomes red, which means the player can still play for lines and corners but not for the full house. Viaan Games claims that the winners can win instant cash of up to Rs 9,999, which is transferred to players’ Paytm account on winning. Viaan Games also announced that they have partnered with a national broadcaster to air on national television the snowball Sunday games, where the prizes will go in Lakhs of Rupees from 20th April 2020 onwards.

As per a report by AnimationXpress, Raj Kundra said, “The last five to six years in India has seen a substantial amount of growth in the real money gaming (RMG) industry. Online gaming has a massive market opportunity that prolongs beyond interactive entertainment. I have always thrived on online gaming and under it, board games have been one of my absolute favourites. This is when I thought of creating a game where everyone can play together as a family and at the same time it’s nostalgic and enjoyable. This is when I thought of getting back India’s most loved game Housie as a game of skill. With Housie Quiz I am proud to announce India’s first real money game of skill. By customising it with the quiz element we have made it more relatable and fun for our users.”

As winnings in Kundra’s game format are still dependent upon randomly generated or picked numbers, the game still seems to have a large involvement of chance.

Controversy seems to have continued to surround Raj Kundra’s gaming ventures in India. In 2016, Raj Kundra promoted a real money stock game on its website through Satyug Gold Pvt. Ltd. The game was withdrawn from their website after questions were raised by the media and Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on the legality of stock exchange-based games luring customers with real money while claiming to be a skill-based game.

In early 2018, former promoter of Match Indian Poker League’s (Match IPL) Goa Kings team, actor Sachiin Joshi and the league’s founder Raj Kundra exchanged harsh words against one another over alleged non-payment of dues and allegations of rigging of the Match IPL games.

Later, in October 2018, Ability Games Pvt. Ltd., the company which owns the Goa Lions team refused to pay the fee of Rs. 50 lakh to participate in Season 3 of Match IPL, alleging that Match IPL did not honour its commitment of holding an auction for poker players as well as of conducting the event in the ‘match poker’ format using electronic devices. When Viaan Industries sent Goa Lions a termination notice, Ability Games approached the Bombay High Court against the action.


30 Arrested for Rioting and Holding Guest, Staff Hostage at Goa Casino

In the early hours of Thursday, 30 men were arrested at a casino, a Pride Casino Group facility, near Calangute Beach in North Goa. These men were arrested on the account of rioting at the casino and holding staff and guests hostage.

The Pride Casino Group management called the police at around 3:30 am to report the incident, said Deputy Superintendent of Police (Porvorim) Edwin Colaco, as per a report by Time Now News.

As per another police official, about 40 men entered the casino in the wee hours and threatened the guests and staff present there.

After receiving the complaint, the police rushed to the casino in La Calypso Hotel in North Goa. The police arrested 30 people, which included businessman Kaushal Khanna.

“We have filed a case of rioting for now. Action is being taken as per law,” Colaco said, as reported in Outlook India.

As per the complaint, about 300 guests and staff members were present at the location when this incident took place. The police said that search was underway for a few more accused.

The members of the mob, including a few “bouncers” from a security agency, are being questioned. Some of the casino staff members who were assaulted in the scuffle are also being questioned.

The police said that the trigger for the clash was unclear. However, Outlook India’s sources said that ’the incident occurred over dispute on the winnings in the casino located in the hotel premises.

Read more news about the Pride Casino Group.


Twitter-backed ShareChat Joins the Fantasy Sports Bandwagon, Launches Jeet11

ShareChat, a local social networking App, backed by Twitter, has developed a fantasy sports app called Jeet11. 

ShareChat raised $100 million last year, in a funding round led by Twitter. Their fantasy app Jeet11 has been under testing for the last six months. The app hosts fantasy cricket and football games and already has a user base of about 120,000. They have promoted the app on Instagram.

Playing fantasy sports is still considered betting in many markets. Even Twitter doesn’t allow promotion of fantasy sports platforms in many regions.

The app is not available on Google Play, as the Android maker’s guidelines do not permit publishing of fantasy sports apps. Jeet11 has distributed its app through Xiaomi’s GetApps app store and Jeet11 website. Their fantasy sports platform can also be accessed through their web app.

A ShareChat spokesperson told TechCrunch, “This is presently at an experimentation stage. Based on the outcome of the experiment, we will decide on the future of the product.”

In India, fantasy sports platforms are gaining a strong footing. Dream11, another fantasy platform, claimed to have more than 65 million users last year. It is the first online gaming Unicorn in India to be valued over $1 billion.

MPL is another big player in the fantasy sports market. It has raised over $40 million in total in funding and has recently renewed its association for another year with its Brand Ambassador Virat Kohli, the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team.

Cricket is seen to be occupying a large space in the fantasy sports market. Many cricketers have been signed up by fantasy sports operators as brand ambassadors, e.g.Suresh Raina is the brand ambassador for Fantain Sports and Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya are the faces of Hala-Play.

As per a spokesperson from a fantasy company, it is challenging to retain customers on fantasy sports apps after the cricket season is over.

Launch of Jeet11 shows the rising interest of big players like Twitter in this gaming sector. The fantasy sports market in India is self-regulated through guidelines and regulations set by the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (previously known as Indian Federation of Sports and Gaming).

FIFS has also launched various reports on the legality, landscape, growth potential and impact of fantasy sports in India. The federation claims that fantasy sports have proven to improve real-life sports consumption in India.


IFSG Renamed to Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports

Dream11-founded self-regulatory industry body Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG), has renamed itself to Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), as per a press release. Interestingly, the industry body was originally christened as FIFS when it was incorporated as a Section 8 Company under the Companies Act, 2013 (Not for Profit Company) in 2017.

This action of renaming itself twice and reverting to its original name reflects narrowing of the regulatory body’s focus from all skill-based sports games, including esports, fantasy sports and casual sports games, to only fantasy sports, which the federation claims to have proven to improve real-life sports consumption in India.

Commenting on the development, John Loffhagen, Chairman, FIFS said, “In the last two years, we have seen exponential growth in the Fantasy Sports industry. From 5 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.”

Since its inception in 2017, FIFS has issued guidelines and regulations to set and maintain high operating standards in the industry to uphold the interests of consumers, operators and other stakeholders. The organisation has also created awareness about fantasy sports by launching the fantasy sports industry’s first ever charter in 2019, conducting two seasons of fantasy sports conference GamPlan in 2018 and 2019, and launching ‘Stars of Tomorrow’, an athlete support program, in collaboration with Dream11 Foundation and GoSports Foundation. FIFS has also launched various reports on the legality, landscape, growth potential and impact of fantasy sports in India.

With India’s first online gaming unicorn Dream11 as the founding member, the organisation currently has 33 members, including various fantasy sports operators and other stakeholders. Besides this, it has one Ombudsman—Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri (Retd.)—and four strategic advisors—Professor Ratnakar Shetty, former BCCI Chief Administrative Officer; Amrit Mathur, former Secretary Sports Authority of India; Dilip Dixit, former Additional Commissioner of Sales Tax; andAN Roy, retired Director General Police of Maharashtra.


Goa Minister Supports Entry of Goans in Casinos and Legalisation of Matka

Although Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant recently announced ban on Goans from entering casinos in the state from February 1 2020, his party colleague and State Ports Minister Michael Lobo said that Goans should be allowed to visit casinos as there is a difference between visiting a casino and gambling, as reported by The Times of India.

“There are other things in casinos besides gaming. There is music, entertainment, food, etc.,” he said. He also added that, “Nepal and Sri Lanka have banned their citizens from gambling in casinos. Goans are Indian nationals, so you should not allow all Indians entry while not allowing Goans. This needs to be debated at the highest levels.”

Lobo further said that former Goa CM Manohar Parrikar had amended the state’s gambling law in 2012 after receiving various complaints that gambling has ruined people financially. Many people even took personal loans to gamble, hoping to get rich quickly, only to lose all their money. This forced the former Goa CM to amend the law, which the new government has implemented.

Besides his opinions on casino entry of Goans, Lobo also said that Matka, a form of daily lottery, should be legalised in the state. He said that the state was losing revenue due to the popular, yet illegal, Matka racket in the state, and legalising the game would help add to Goa’s revenue collections from GST.

“Today or tomorrow matka will be legal. There will be no ban. It will be legal. It will come under the ambit of law,” Lobo is quoted to have told reporters as per an IANS Release. “No one pays GST on matka. There is a huge loss to the government. My request is to let it come under the purview of law and GST should be applied on it,” the Minister said.


Goans Banned from Casinos from 1st Feb, Gaming Commissioner Announced

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has announced that local Goans will be banned from entering and playing in casinos from 1st February, 2020 onwards.

The Chief Minister further announced that the Commercial Tax Commissioner has been designated as Gaming Commissioner under Section 13C of the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act as amended in 2012 by later Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Sawant further announced that the newly designated Gaming Commissioner will be given the right to enter any casino in the state at any time and ask for identity proofs of people entering offshore and onshore casinos in the state.

It may be noted that the amendment to the Goa Gambling Act to insert provisions to appoint a Gaming Commissioner to oversee and regulate casinos in the state and ban locals from accessing casinos was passed by the Goa legislative assembly in 2012, but a formal notification to implement the same has not been issued till date.

Meanwhile, state ports minister Michael Lobo had earlier indicated that a long-pending circular to ban locals from entering casinos would be issued shortly and the Gaming Commissioner would be formally appointed before the state budget session in the legislative assembly next week.

Lobo had last week also stated that the pending Casino Policy of the state, that envisages shifting of the offshore casinos to a land zone near the upcoming Mopa airport will be taken up soon, once the ban on iron ore mining in the state imposed by the Supreme Court is lifted.

He added that a long-term policy to shift offshore casinos to a land zone as envisaged by Parrikar will be taken up by Chief Minister Sawant soon,


Virat Kohli is MPL’s Brand Ambassador for Another Year

Mobile Premier League (MPL) has renewed its association with its brand ambassador and Captain of the Indian Cricket team Virat Kohli for another year, as reported by Exchange4Media.

Virat was first signed on as MPL brand ambassador for a year in March 2019, when the company launched various video campaigns with the cricketer to gain momentum for the platform before Indian Premier League. In April 2019, a TVC campaign #GameKheloHeroBano featuring Virat was launched. MPL had about 25 million registered users in April 2019, and at present it has about 32 million registered users and over 5 billion gameplays.

Recently, MPL launched a 75-second video campaign that was shot in Mumbai, where Virat met and spoke with the top 10 winners of the ‘Meet Virat’ contest on the platform. That video went viral on social media. MPL offers fantasy, prediction and virtual games of skill and cricket.

In reference to the renewal of Virat’s association with the brand, he said,  “I am happy to announce that I have renewed my association with Mobile Premier League (MPL). In just over a year, I have seen this young Indian startup grow and reach fans across India. I look forward to supporting them in achieving their goal of being the number one gaming company in India.”

Jogesh Lulla, COO, Cornerstone Sports, which manages Kohli said, “MPL is a young company with exceptional leadership and is on track to become the largest e-sports platform. Our partnership thus far has been fantastic and we look forward to helping them grow from strength to strength along with Virat.”

“We are honoured and privileged to have Virat continue his association with the MPL family. With his love and support, we have started to march towards our goal of democratising esports and skill monetisation across India. Virat, his persona, and his positivity resonates across our youth, and along with him, we are looking forward to doing our bit to empower the immensely large talent pool in our country,” said Sai Srinivas, Co-Founder and CEO, MPL.