Indians love card games and games of skill. Card games are played across the country and there are many versions of popular games in different regions. While in the past, people used to play card games mainly during social gatherings, the younger generation have options to play games on their smartphones.
Developers at gaming studios have been working hard to offer live dealer versions of popular games. In the recent years, there has been a significant improvement in user interface, speed and responsiveness of the games. Fast internet services and high-end smartphones have also played an important role in improving the user experience for online casinos.
Online gaming and ‘Real Money’ gaming register strong growth
According to a KPMG report, online gaming has been a fast emerging sector in India during the recent years. With Covid-19 lockdowns, online services and shopping have registered robust growth.
With fast and low-cost internet access, playing online games and streaming online videos has become a norm among Indians. People share videos and multimedia content with their friends on social media.
The Real Money Gaming (RMG) segment has also grown from card-based games to fantasy sports. Fantasy sports segment has witnessed strong interest due to massive media campaigns run by Dream11 and My11circle. As per FICCI-EY data, fantasy sports could be worth $2.5 billion this year and with strong growth in user-base, it is expected to touch $3.7 billion by 2024. Dream11 registered a revenue of Rs 2070 crore for FY20.
Along with card-games, hyper casual and casual games are also witnessing strong interest among Indians. Many companies in this segment are planning games that would target the Indian audience.
The Indian government has been promoting online payments among Indians. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) has witnessed strong growth as banks and financial institutions have quickly adopted the network. The value of online transactions jumped from INR 2 trillion for January 2020 to INR 4 trillion for January 2021. With increased penetration of online payment networks, people have grown comfortable spending money online.
Indian gaming company Nazara Technologies listed on the stock exchange on March 30, 2021 and the company has witnessed strong investor interest. The stock offered at Rs 1100 per share has already touched a 52-week high of Rs 3356.
Future of land-based casinos in India
The Indian government has strict laws against land-based casinos. As gambling is a state subject, a few states (Goa, Daman and Sikkim) allow land-based or floating casinos operating on ships. Casino Deltin Royale, Casino Deltin JAQK, Casino Pride and Casino Pride 2 operate as floating casinos in India. While there have been calls for changing the laws, the Indian government has not moved in this direction yet. According to the reports, casinos operating in Goa registered the revenue worth INR 180 crore to state revenue during 2018. Regulated gambling operations could bring strong revenue for local governments. According to industry estimates, the Indian gambling industry could be worth $60 billion. However, the majority of this runs through illegal networks.
According to the India Casino Info Website, online casinos can operate in India (except for Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha) if they are managed by offshore companies. There are reliable companies, based in Europe and North America that have dedicated websites for online gambling and sports betting for Indian bettors. These platforms are audited and controlled by reputable gaming agencies like Malta Gaming Authority, Gambling Commission, UK and Gibraltar Regulatory Authority.
Online gaming platforms also offer sports betting
Indians have embraced cricket and this is evident from the coverage that cricket matches receive on television, internet and in news media. Advertisers keep a significant amount of their marketing budgets for cricket events. Other games are also picking up momentum in India.
Cricket betting has shifted from illegal, offline networks to well-regulated online sports betting platforms. These platforms offer options for sports fans to enjoy gaming action and place their bets on a wide variety of sports events across the world. The significant growth in this sector is a strong proof that Indian sports fans are already comfortable placing their bets on these platforms.
The future of this segment is strong for the Indian market. Major platforms from Europe and North America have planned strong investment in this sector in the future. Indian bettors can only expect better gaming options and platforms in future.
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