New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Gaming industry body AIGF and online gaming platform Winzo, have both petitioned the Delhi High Court to be allowed to intervene in a suit filed by Dream 11 backed Rario against Striker, a web 3 fantasy platform.
The Dream 11 backed Rario was launched in April 2022, as the “world’s first cricket NFT platform” and has since then has signed several NFT deals with the likes of Cricket Australia and Cricket New Zealand. Last week, it filed a petition against Striker in the Delhi High Court. Rario’s petition was joined by cricketers like Harshal Patel, Shivam and Umran Malik. Incidentally, these cricketers are among the scores of other cricket players who have signed official NFT deals with Rario.
Striker works with individual artists who produce original cricket themed art. While the platform primarily operates a fantasy league, it also has an added element of player cards. The player card that features art from the independent artists could be traded within the Striker platform. A report by Moneycontrol in September, 2022, said that Striker was started by two employees of Mobile Premier League (MPL). MPL has also been named as one of the parties in the suit by Rario.
While Rario has petitioned the court to prevent Striker from using these art images, other players in the industry feel that this could negatively impact the industry.
All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), the apex industry body for online gaming in India with over hundred members, have filed an intervention saying that the case has “wide ranging ramifications across the gaming industry” and “not being able to use specific identifiers for players would have drastic impact on fantasy sports platforms” and “could impact growth of smaller companies”, thereby placing the Indian gaming industry at a disadvantageous position with respect to other countries.
Online game platform Winzo has also sought an intervention in the suit, believing that Rario may use any order from the court to put clamps on other platforms and competitors in the industry.
The global sports NFT market reached $2.6 billion in 2022, doubling from last year’s $1.3 billion, according to a study by Market Decipher. Sports NFTs range from trading cards, jerseys to autographs and video clips. According to the report, cricket along with American football, baseball, basketball and football are among the major sports in demand.
While Rario has an official agreement with Cricket Australia, its deal with Cricket New Zealand is a part of a deal announced by Dream Sports, the parent of Dream 11. Interestingly, Rario does not have any NFT partnership with BCCI or IPL and WPL.
According to a report by FIFS and Deloitte, India is the world’s biggest fantasy sports market with a user base of over 13 crore. There are over 200 fantasy sports operators in India and the market is dominated by Dream 11. While Dream 11 is an official fantasy partner of BCCI and the IPL, smaller players are allowed to operate their own fantasy games. The smaller players fear that this status quo may be challenged if the Delhi High Court order goes in the favour of Rario.