The future of the online gambling industry in India is contingent on five primary factors. Those are the reasons why European based operators are targeting India as their next market.
The five primary factors are:
- The size of India’s sports market
- Internet usage and growth in India
- Indian population size
- It is a new untapped market
- Increasing restrictions in regulated European jurisdiction such as the UK.
Let’s take a look at each one of these factors in more detail.
The size of India’s sports market is one of the largest in the world. The largest sport followed in India is, of course, cricket; however, Indian consumers are a massive follower of soccer (aka English football), tennis, badminton, field hockey, boxing, and local sports like kabaddi. All one needs to do is look at the social media following of Indian sports stars to understand the sheer size of the Indian sports market. India’s current captain Virat Kohli has some 37 million Facebook followers, and MS Dhoni, another well-known Indian cricket player, has over 20 million. The market size of the sports industry across India, especially for companies like Cricket-Betting.in who provide live tips and bets, makes India a lucrative location to operate in.
Internet and mobile phone usage in India are growing at a substantial rate. Although the current internet usage is 45%, it is growing at over 60 million users per year. Similarly, social media usage is at only 23%, which is relatively low in comparison to the global average of 45%; it is growing faster than any other global market. That means mobile-centric gaming companies have a massive opportunity to offer players gambling products directly to consumers’ mobile phones or tablets. The chances for gaming companies multiply with mobile internet connection speeds increase.
India’s population is well over a billion people and has an addressable market (aged between 18 to 64 years old) of 826 million people. Also, current active e-commerce penetration in India stands at 28%, and while this is a low figure globally, the sheer numbers in absolute terms our substantial. According to research, around 23 million people in India have the financial capacity to gamble online. This number is set to grow as India’s middle class continues its upward trajectory.
India is a new market for gaming companies. As betting companies are looking to increase revenues, they look beyond traditional and established markets to greenfield geographies. India is not alone. Gaming companies are also looking at Latin America, for example, Brazil, Peru, Chile, and Columbia, along with European jurisdiction like Portugal and Croatia. India is an untapped market.
The final factor, which is leading to growth in the online gambling industry in India is the increasing regulation in Europe. That may seem to be an obscure reason, but the reality is the UK, Sweden, Italy, and Germany regulators are all placing heavy restrictions on gambling companies. Many companies are looking for more relaxed markets in which to operate.
For example, in 2019, the UKGC fined Several leading gambling companies for failure to adhere to, and some would say unnecessarily strict compliance guidelines. For instance, silver bond enterprises who run Park Lane club in Mayfair will find 1.8 million pounds due to irregularities in social responsibility and money laundering failures. Other restrictions include the UK, including banning credit cards as a payment method. In Germany, restricting the amount players can wager during the month and in Sweden, stopping all forms of VIP rewards and bonuses.
Overall, India’s mobile phone usage and sporting market are increasing. Online gambling companies from Europe, like ComeOn, Leo Vegas, and Royal panda, are expanding their marketing and products offered to Indian consumers. Indian consumers are about to experience highly advanced online gambling services.
With a population of 1.3 billion people and a GDP of US $ 2.4 trillion, describing India as an “emerging market” is something that could be considered an underestimate.
As things stand, gambling in the great nation of South Asia is very restricted, apart from particular categories, such as lotteries and horse racing. The model is similar to the United States, for example, by individual states that have the right to license and regulate.
However, a recent 145-page report from the Indian Law Commission (LCI) recommended licensing and regulation of gambling across the country, as a way to curb the increase in online betting activity.
Last July’s report concluded that “there could always be an option to have a perspective on the previous approach to a complete ban,” due to the increase in online gambling, which makes it much more difficult to control and curb this activity.
In this regard, ESSA (Sports Betting Integrity), the nonprofit association that represents the interests of sports betting integrity of operators in the world, said that “as the Law Commission reports, the ban has been ineffective and has resulted in widespread unlicensed bets. The only way to address that and the essential integrity issues that it entails is to enact a clear regulatory framework for betting. Such action will undoubtedly have considerable economic and integrity impacts. ”
“Some unconfirmed reports have put the gaming market in India at $ 150 billion per year. Most of these are illegal games, and are controlled by crime unions and do not generate revenue for the government,” Jaydeep explained. Chakravartty, Commercial Director of Ingenuity Gaming.
“By legalizing sports betting in India, the government can earn income, stop illegal gambling, and also generate new jobs. It won’t be effortless to establish how many jobs can be created by legalizing sports betting in India. However, to put things into perspective, one of the existing lottery operators, which has business in many states of India, created more than 300 thousand jobs in a single state.”
“Their annual income exceeds the US $ 2 billion (from one state) and they have granted the US $ 500 million as taxes to a single state government. With the data we have at hand, I believe that the areas of job creation and revenue generation will get a big boost by legalizing sports betting in India, “added Chakravartty.
Chakravartty described the world of sports betting in India as “probably the last untapped market,” but still has doubts that the “flood” effect will occur in the short term.
“I am sure that the market will open eventually; however, no one will know when that will be. Also, I firmly believe that India will also follow the US route where the market will be legalized through the states and not at the level of federal or central.
“Each market is different, and it is the attention to local details that will help any company succeed in India. International gaming companies should explore the Indian market, understand the requirements, and be ready to make a move when the market opens, “he added.