India has a population that’s over 1.38 billion which puts it on the second spot of the most populated list of countries. With that, it is a place with a ripe market for many industries. Over the last few years, online gambling has been one of the industries that have experienced significant growth in India. This is mainly the result of how the internet has made gambling in almost all forms easily available.
Today, many online casino sites and sportsbooks are starting to penetrate the Indian market. If you’re curious about the online gambling market in India predictions, we’re here to discuss just that. We’ll be taking a look at how the industry has grown especially when the pandemic started and what the foreseeable future is for online gambling sites.
Recent Growth of India’s Gambling Market
Online gaming, in general, has experienced a boost when the pandemic started. Based on a report released by ENV Media last year, there was a 35% increase in time spent on playing real money games every month during the pandemic.
This increase placed India in the top spot of the online gambling market, beating countries like Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, the US, and the United Kingdom. This is why today, many gambling companies are starting to see India’s gambling market potential.
Aside from the country’s population, the number of mobile users in India has also increased. India now has over 1.8 billion mobile connections according to Ram Sewak, the chief executive of the National Health Authority of India. Over 700 million of these people are internet users and 600 million are smartphone users.
With smartphones becoming more affordable yet powerful, the country’s mobile internet users will likely continue to grow. That means that mobile services will be more in demand including mobile gaming.
Is Online Gambling Legal Anyway?
With online gambling on the rise, many are now thinking about whether it’s legal in the first place. Well, India’s gambling activities are regulated with the Public Gaming Act of 1867. This law was indeed published in 1867 and of course, it has no mention of anything about gambling online.
That then places online gambling in India in the gray area. It’s neither legal nor illegal. This is even if a law about the country’s online activities was passed in 2000. The Information Technology Act of 2000 also has no mention of gambling online.
What’s only illegal in India is the local operations of online casinos and sportsbooks in states where gambling is not allowed. Currently, only three states have regulated gambling and these are Goa, Sikkim, and Daman. However, only in-person gambling is regulated in these states. But since online gambling is in the grey area, offshore-based casinos are free to offer their services in the country.
Now, state governments still have the power to control online gambling activities within their borders if they choose to. This is what happened to the state of Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Karnataka. Karnataka implemented an online gaming ban that includes prohibiting games that rely on luck or game of chance last year.
However, this year the Karnataka High Court struck down the state law that banned online gaming. The same thing also happened with Tamil Nadu a few months after they imposed an online gaming ban. People in the gaming industry and the players themselves are happy about this but both local governments appear to be motivated to find a way to fix the rising gambling issues within their territories.
The High Courts that decided that the laws implemented in these states were unconstitutional still said that they are free to come up with another amendment. As long as these amendments will be constitutional, then the High Courts won’t do anything about it. And so now, we can only wait and see what they will do about this.
What’s Ahead: The Industry’s Future
With the mentioned states possibly moving towards prohibiting online gambling, it’s now hard to predict India’s online gambling future. Some groups and organizations are pushing to regulate online gaming activities instead of not allowing it all. True enough, the rise of gaming in India can be great for the country’s economy.
Over the last few years, gaming companies have invested so much in India. Laws that Karnataka and Tamil Nadu tried to implement last year could only really harm the growth of the industry. With that said, many are hoping that online gaming and gambling would be regulated instead.