A recent study by the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) and Cartesian Consulting Pvt. Ltd. has concluded that fantasy sports players use strategic and skill-dominant techniques rather than relying on chance to play fantasy sports.
The study, titled ‘Fantasy Sports: A Game of Skill or Chance’, was led by Dr. U Dinesh Kumar, Professor, Decision Sciences, IIM-B and Dr Ramasubramanian Sundararajan, Head-AI, Cartesian Consulting, as reported by Indian Express.
The study used user data for three years from Dream11, the first Unicorn Club fantasy sports platform in India.
Statistical hypotheses techniques and detailed analysis of the actual and anonymised data from Dream11 was employed to conclude the presence of ‘skill dominance’ among players playing with Dream11’s format of fantasy sports.
Another important finding from the IIMB-Cartesian research is that users who select captains and vice-captains after skillfully assessing past performance of players “tend to have higher average scores than other players”. It was inferred that when players were selected randomly, it led to lower scores. This also led to the conclusion that users’ skills improve substantially over time, as they assess past performance to make teams.
The study also highlights that players who play for money get higher scores, “proving they are playing more strategic game”.
Professor Dinesh said, “We found strong evidence that learning, consistency and strategy-based usage affect the outcome in Dream11’s format of fantasy sports. The inferences indicated that player selection has a huge influence on achieving high scores, therefore establishing that performance on the Dream11 platform is skill dominant.” He said that multiple hypothesis techniques were applied to the ‘Skill Vs Chance’ question, which was converted into an analytics and statistics problem.
As per the professor, the case has been published in Harvard Business Review and is available across more than 410 universities in 75 countries.
Dr Sundararajan, said, “This report helps to understand how a user prepares and strategically plans his teams thereby determining the level of skill in Dream11’s format of fantasy sports.” He said that they were interested in understanding more about the sports fan engagement that can be achieved through tech innovations like fantasy sports, in this rapidly growing industry.
This study supports the rulings made by the Bombay High Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the past.
Earlier this year, a division bench of the Bombay High Court, comprising of Justices Bharati H. Dangre and Ranjit More, ruled fantasy sports to be a game of skill and approved Dream11’s format. The Supreme Court recently rejected an appeal against that decision and observed that there is no doubt about the skill element involved in fantasy sports.
In the year 2017, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled that playing fantasy sports online does not amount to gambling and involves a substantial degree of skill.