India may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of global gambling hotspots. The pursuit is after all banned in much of the country, with the states of Sikkim and Goa being two or very few exceptions. Nevertheless, the nation has been hitting the industry headlines with increasing regularity of late, with online casinos new to India sparking a huge spike in betting online.
Outdated Laws Failing to Keep Pace
Whilst real-world gambling is prohibited in the majority of India, that certainly doesn’t mean the appetite to place a wager doesn’t exist. In common with many areas of the world, the Indian population has been gambling for centuries now. However, thanks to the Public Gaming Act of 1867, many of those seeking to get their betting fix have been forced to do so either illegally, or travel to a different state to partake in casino gaming.
All Change with the Internet
The 1867 act which so effectively curbed gambling within India’s borders, does not account for gambling online. No surprise really, considering personal computers, mobile phones and the internet were the stuff of science fiction novels at the time of the act’s inception.
That lack of online regulation, in combination with the increasing proliferation of mobile phones and vastly improved internet coverage, has created the perfect storm for offshore online casino operators. Never ones to pass up on an opportunity, online casinos are now beginning to target the Indian market in ever-increasing numbers.
Given the size of the market, that focus on the subcontinent is entirely understandable. Boasting a total population of 1.4billion, India lies only behind China in terms of the world’s most populous nations, with studies indicating that 40% of Indian internet users – equating to 565million individuals – have participated in online gambling on at least one occasion.
A Perfectly Legal Pastime
The long-standing ban on land-based gambling in the nation has led many to believe that gambling of any kind is prohibited. However, when it comes to gambling online, this is simply not the case. Provided the online operator is not based in India, but rather in a jurisdiction where the pursuit is legal, Indian players over the age of 18 are free to sign-up, deposit and play as they please.
When considering the alternatives of dubious illegal gambling, or travelling vast distances to place a bet, it is really no surprise that the online gambling industry is displaying such exponential growth in India. Benefits to the player are numerous, with some of the main attractions being:
- Convenience – why travel when you can play casino games from the comfort of your own home?
- Ease of Payment – Online casinos targeting the Indian market go out of their way to facilitate the country’s most popular payment options including Google Pay, PhonePe and Paytm.
- Sign-up bonuses – The majority of sites offer an incentive to sign up, be that through matched deposits, free spins or otherwise. None of which are likely to be found at a land-based casino, or shady underground operation.
- More Choice – Whilst the nation’s limited number of brick-and-mortar casinos offer only a set number of games, the choice of games online can run into the 1000s.
- Safety – A big plus in online gambling being accepted in society. Online casinos are fully licenced and regulated, and employ comprehensive checks to deter underage gambling.
- Sports Betting Options – Another major draw is the ability to bet on sporting events – in particular, the country’s national sport of cricket
The Future Looks Bright
With a huge and willing market who have been starved of legal betting options for so long, it is no shock that online gambling is proving such a success in India. And barring a change in the legislation – which does not seem to be forthcoming – the events of recent years may be just the beginning. With more and more sites breaking into the market, India looks set to be one of the biggest areas of growth in the gambling industry.
Online Boom in India was first seen on Casino Life Magazine