The online gambling industry has grown at an astonishing pace in recent years, and the UK and USA are seen as the market leaders. As far as India is concerned, the industry is not as mature as that of Canada or China. Currently, India has been missing out on around $1.5bn in lost revenue due to its inability to regulate online gambling effectively.
Technically, gambling in India is illegal. However, there has been a legislative loophole that has been circumnavigated, which has enabled Indians to wager through offshore casinos and betting sites.
Nevertheless, around $60bn is bet each year in India and the country is indeed trying to make its mark. While there was previously a chasm in the online gambling industry between countries, there are several economic and social factors that suggest that India is heading in the right direction and can close the gap on its competitors.
Riding the boom
One key factor that can be credited for India's growth in the online gambling industry is the rise in the number of internet users. Over the past decade in particular, there have been an increased number of households registered. In December 2018, there were thought to be approximately 566 million internet users and, at the end of last year, that figure rose to 627 million. By the end of 2020, projections suggest that this could soar to 730 million. Surprisingly, there has been a rise of internet users in rural areas and this will continue to increase as internet coverage continues to improve. When it comes to casino betting, sites such as SuperLenny are very popular in India.
India has a rich sporting heritage, particularly when it comes to cricket. In the past, fans idolised the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, but the current crop has moved the game on and the team is currently ranked the world's best Test side. Aside from Test cricket, the IPL has become increasingly lucrative and has provided another betting avenue. More recently, this has branched out to other sports, such as tennis and hockey.
India is also one of the largest countries in the world and the younger generation is glued to sports too. Only a few years ago, a study showed that over 50% of casual gamers and over 66% of seasoned gamers in India were below the age of 24.
Mobile gaming key driver
The rise in India's iGaming market is closely aligned to the increase of those acquiring a smartphone. The nation's overall mobile games market is expected to surpass the $1bn mark by the end of 2020. The number of mobile gamers is expected to surpass 600 million over the next 12 months and this, in turn, could impact some of the big global iGaming brands such as Bet365 and Betway.
While it is still at a nascent stage, India has begun to develop relationships with other betting brands. As it takes small steps and embraces new opportunities, India’s online gambling industry will be sure to grow.