StarPick, a prominent daily fantasy sports (DFS) portal in India, is breaking its ties with the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming (IFSG). It has announced that it is cancelling its membership, effective immediately, due to differences of opinion between the gaming industry body and the DFS operator.
According to an announcement by StarPick, it had been developing newer formats of fantasy gaming, including the recently released Fantasy MatchUp games. However, these new formats were rejected by the IFSG, forcing the company to withdraw from the organization.
Starpick CEO Trigam Mukherjee explained, “StarPick is focused on engaging the users with superior technology and innovations. However, we believe that that current IFSG charter is not conducive for us as a company to innovate in the fantasy sports gaming space and hence are withdrawing our membership with immediate effect.
“Though fantasy sports gaming and some platforms have been around in India for over a decade, this space is still in its infancy. There has been no real innovation in this space until we launched StarPick in 2018. We believe that platforms such as ours need the freedom to disrupt and innovate to bring new game-play formats to the Indian users in addition to the tried and tested older game-play formats.”
In response to the announcement, the IFSG offered its stance, asserting that the new formats might be considered sports gambling and could run afoul of laws. IFSG President John Loffhagen added, “IFSG is driven by transparency, integrity and responsibility. We and our members believe in providing a safe and responsible fantasy sports gaming environment to our users. For the same, we have several checks and balances in place to help our members maintain ethical standards and also adhere to fantasy sports format/s that is/are legally approved by the Indian courts. While many fantasy sports operators believe in innovations in fantasy sports gaming format, they tend to overlook the legal impact of the same.
As India’s only industry body, we are here to help and support our members align with legally approved standards and ethical way to engage with the users. Members who prefer taking up formats that are not legally approved cannot be backed by IFSG and they are free to withdraw their membership. We will not support any member violating the IFSG Charter that associates fantasy sports to sports betting in any form or shape. We are open to suggestions from our members and willing to work with them in building new formats that are within the purview of the Indian laws.”