Gambling Operators Flock to India's Thriving Market
Gambling is as old as man himself, with multifaceted versions of it popping up and garnering widespread interest from time to time. From the late 90s to this day, gambling has witnessed a notably tremendous shift from technical gambling to gambling over the internet – more popularly known as online gambling.
Online gambling is a very lucrative industry in India, with several external operators milking it effectively. Online gambling has captured the mind and soul of the majority of India's youth population ranging from 16 to 40 years of age, even up to older demographics. With these figures, a tacit explanation is given as to why the industry is racking up billions in revenue yearly. As at present, the online gambling market in India is estimated to be worth over 60 billion dollars annually.
Cricket tops the list as the most wagered sport followed by football. However, following the legitimacy enjoyed by lottery and horse racing, these two have gained exponential patronage from gamblers. For instance, the lottery gambling industry is currently estimated at over 14 billion dollars (12.5 in 2017), while horse racing has annual records of over 500 million dollars (350 in 2017).
Offshore Online Casinos Are on the rise in India
As a business strategy, the international strength, influence, and reliability of a company are hinged on their capacity to spread their reach across other territories. Over the last decade, the Indian gambling landscape has recorded an unbelievable upsurge in the number of its operators. As a fact, a plethora of offshore online gambling giants has strategically established and sealed their place among bettors.
The first reason is that the population of India perfectly works wonders, with an established interest in gambling. Second, the country has ambiguous laws regarding online gambling, which the international operators have expertly circumvented to their advantage. The third reason is that the blazing economy of the country, which has both the operators and gamblers benefitting from the art. Most of these sites operate from offshore territories such as Sweden, Malta, UK, Curacao, Macau, among others.
As expected from such a vast population, a huge number of Indian nationals derive fun and amass huge cash from online gambling. They mostly wager on games such as roulette, blackjack online, kabaddi, and Andar Bahar.
Quite admittedly, some online casinos are putting in commendable efforts and updating their casino services. One of such casinos is ShowLion casino, which provides a broad range of casino games including Andar Bahar, Teen Patti, roulette, and kabaddi. All games on their platform can be wagered and paid out in Indian Rupees for real money big wins. Quite exciting is that most of the games are broadcast live, straight from studios in Malta and are HD-enabled for optimum streaming.
Even up till this moment, more Indians and Indian residents continue to wager online, as the numbers keep soaring higher weekly. Players mostly bet on cricket, football, and kabaddi, which are successively the most patronized sports on online betting sites in India. It is estimated that 80% of Indians bet once a year, while a total of 55% bet twice and above in a year, with cricket having more than 80% of the annual bettors.
Gambling advertising in India is mostly done by Indian operators owning authorized gambling portfolios such as poker, which is technically legal in the country. Indian Poker providers such as PokerBaazi, advertise publicly. These providers spend millions of dollars advertising on social media, TVs, radio shows, billboards, newspapers and even go as far as endorsing athletes.
Will casino and betting be legalized?
According to the federal laws of India, all games of luck and chance are expressly prohibited, which include casinos and all physical betting. On the other hand, all games requiring skill and intelligence are legal such as poker. The legal position of poker is still debated but it is publicly and widely played in land-based sites in India, and no government prosecution has been made against it.
However, online gambling, especially from offshore companies, has no law made in its favor or against it, which gives foreign operators the implicit right to provide games without being prosecuted. Only Goa and Sikkim and Daman and Diu have legalized gambling within their territories.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.