India is one of the most populous countries in the world with over 1.4 billion people and over 60% of the population using the internet. It is no surprise that this makes for an incredibly interesting market for operators and affiliates looking to expand in the iGaming space. India has a great sporting tradition and people have a passion for their national sports which they frequently bet on. In this article, we go through India’s iGaming market landscape and the potential it holds for becoming a dominant player in the industry.
What is the Current Legal Status of Gambling in India?
Before we deep dive into India’s iGaming market, it’s important to understand the current legal status of the gambling market in India. Gambling is unregulated, meaning there are no laws circulating it, allowing it to operate in this “grey market.” The country is separated into 28 states and each state has its own laws. Offshore gambling operators can still provide their services to players in India by incorporating the Indian Rupee for betting, withdrawals and deposits. However, Indian players should be careful when it comes to choosing offshore operators because there could be consequences for using unlicensed operators in an unregulated market. That’s why it’s important to choose high-quality, licensed and trusted offshore casinos and bookmakers.
Is it a Promising Market?
Looking into India’s market potential, let’s start with recent changes. The recent pandemic has left people with plenty of time to search the web and indulge in their hobbies like online betting. This spiked internet usage and India’s smartphone base was predicted to reach 820 million by the end of this year. What’s interesting about India is that they have a considerably younger population, which is likely to make up most of the gaming sector in the country. According to KPMG, 60 percent of India’s population is below the age of 35, making it one of the largest potential markets for online gaming in terms of volume.
The pandemic undoubtedly shut down many businesses but had the reverse effect on the iGaming market, which flourished not only temporarily, but still today. Smartphones are the driving forces of the iGaming industry and with their increased usage, online gaming has become a cultural phenomenon for easily accessible entertainment.
India has been focusing on investing in IT and technology, collaborating with modern-day technology like augmented reality and virtual reality to make the user experience as smooth and realistic as possible. It is expected that the development of iGaming in India will only improve in time.
What are the Challenges Faced?
We spoke with Anton Hedlund, Account Manager at Compary and when asked about the challenges faced with expanding in the Indian market, he mentioned the biggest struggle they experienced was inconsistent payment methods. Sometimes payment methods were not processed properly, which prevented players’ ability to play and make deposits. This was a challenge for both operators who had seen a drop in players and affiliates who were sending players to brands they couldn’t play at. However, with the implementation of blockchain technology into the payments systems in the coming future, players will have both control and transparency with all their payments.
Apart from that, another challenge he mentioned was the uncertainty in new regulations or laws circulating the market, something that can’t be controlled. Since some affiliate sites are SEO-driven, it can take time for traffic to come in and new regulations can make it even trickier.
Breaking Down the Trends
Online fantasy gaming has been a rising trend and is one of the most popular kinds of games in India. Research shows the Indian fantasy sports industry is growing at a 32% CAGR and is projected to reach 2.5 billion by 2022. Another interesting rising trend is that women are now starting to make up a larger part of the gambling industry.
In fact, it is estimated that women make up 20-30% of the Indian online gambling market.
Simply translating the site to the respective language won’t produce great results as visitors seek personalized and value-driven experiences.
We can expect operators targeting India to incorporate more neutral designs, and brand voice to not exclude or discourage female gamblers.
As the market grows, it is important for online casinos to focus on launching a dedicated site for the Indian audience. This includes personalized promotions, local languages and games, local currency bets and a customer support team that speaks Hindi, Bengali and English.
The Future of iGaming in India
Where can we expect to see iGaming in India heading? Let’s map it out for you!
- Greater content customization to fit the interests of the Indian market. For example, a catered catalog of games with increased focus on popular sports such as cricket, football, field hockey and badminton.
- Growth of the eSports market
- New emerging technologies like the Metaverse, augmented reality and virtual reality
- Increased methods of payments that include cryptocurrencies
When asked where he thinks Indian iGaming is heading, Hedlund of Compary said it best: ''The best is yet to come'' and we couldn’t agree more. The iGaming industry in India is developing simultaneously with technological advancements. Still though, companies need to stay ahead of the game by keeping up with the latest regulations and customer demands. Many operators and affiliates are already venturing in the Indian market, as can be seen with casinos like 4stargames, Lucky Elektra, LoyalBet, Casino UNLIMITED, LOTTO247 and kwiff. If I could offer my own quote here, it would be “expect the unexpected”, we never know what to expect with such a fast-growing and prominent industry but it sure is exciting to watch it unfold!