The popularity of online casino games in India has grown so much over the years. Indians are known to love gambling. Aside from being the second most populated country in the world, India is also known to be home to so many gamblers. In fact, around 80% of the Indian population admit to gambling at least once a year. In India, gambling can be manifested in many different forms such as house card games, sports betting, and casino games. However, recently, there has been a very big boom in terms of the people who play online casino games in India. The entire gambling industry in India as a whole is worth roughly around US$60 billion every year with around only half of that being regulated. This means that there’s a lot of underground and unregulated gambling going on in India. But what about online gambling?
The way that legislation surrounding gambling in India is so weird and ambiguous that it places online gambling on some kind of a grey area. In total, only two states in India are allowed to legally operate physical casinos. These are Goa and Sikkim. The only kinds of gambling that are allowed in India as a whole are lottery sweepstakes and horse race betting. Despite that, there is still a booming online gambling industry in India. There aren’t any current federal laws that bar or regulate online betting in India. It’s mostly up to the individual states to decide on the legality of online casinos in their respective jurisdictions.
Considering that online gambling makes up so much of the Indian economy and the fact that many people are still apprehensive about going to physical spaces for gambling, there’s reason to consider that governments are looking closer into legalizing and regulating the online gambling industry in India. But this is all dependent on the state. Goa is one of the most attractive states in India for gambling because it has very loose regulations for both real world and online casinos. However, there are also states like Maharashtra that prohibit gambling in all forms, whether online or offline.
The Federal Information Technology Act that was passed in India in 2011 was made to restrict the online gambling activities in India. The act sought to penalize internet service providers for allowing foreign betting sites to be accessed by Indian users. However, the law’s language didn’t cover the third-party online betting operators that are very popular in India. So, it has been very easy for Indian online gamblers to circumvent these restrictions by going through the third-party operators who accept rupees or alternative e-wallets for transactions on their sites.
As of this moment, many gambling companies all over the world are eager to penetrate India and try to take a bite out of that large market. Many prominent companies like William Hill and Ladbrokes are desperate to try to win over licensing rights for their operations in the state of Sikkim. It just goes to show that many industry experts understand the potential of the Indian market when it comes to online gambling. This is why many are eager to invest in the penetration of this highly powerful market with lots of spending power.
There are primarily three reasons why Indians have come to really accept online gambling. First, it’s the fact that Indians consider gambling to be one of their favorite pastimes, as we have already established. Aside from that, India boasts one of the most technologically literate populations in the world. This means that more people are just generally comfortable with integrating and receiving technology into their lives. It makes it easier to seek alternative forms of leisure and gambling as opposed to traditional real-world setups. Lastly, India is also the place that the global COVID-19 pandemic hit the hardest. Many Indians are still hesitant to go out into public spaces and have grown rather reliant on digital alternatives. Online gambling allows many Indian gamblers a safe space to still partake in their favorite hobby while staying safe from the virus.
As access to e-wallets continue to roll out and as technology becomes more sophisticated, it’s easy to see that the online gambling industry will thrive in India within the near future. Only time will tell how high it can really grow.