There is a rising love for online gaming as well as betting in India, with fantasy sports, online skill gaming apps, and betting sites taking the forefront of this movement. As per several surveys conducted in the country, it is estimated that at least 40% of all Indian internet users bet online. Additionally, as many as 80% of Indians gamble at least once a year.
This research clearly indicates the growing popularity of online gambling platforms, both legal and otherwise, now available in India. Since the Public Gambling Act of 1867 only prohibits Indians from betting in brick and mortar establishments, the use of online betting sites and betting apps has been considered a “legal” alternative.
But this exponential growth of the online gaming industry has not occurred in a vacuum. In fact, here are five factors that have helped the growth of the online gambling industry in India.
1. More Disposable Income
While there is still a large section of the Indian population that struggles with poverty, there is also a huge other section that has managed to create a world of surplus income. This means that many Indians now have a growing disposable income – something that they do not necessarily need to meet their basic lifestyle needs. This allows many Indians to now spend on entertainment such as betting in India.
2. Better Smartphones
Until about a decade ago, smartphones were a sign of luxury and abundance. But thanks to the many affordable as well as advanced smartphones available in the Indian market, people from every section of society now have access to the internet.
People who had never before owned a smartphone or browsed the internet, are now spending hours on their smartphones.
3. Cheaper Data Packs
The cheaper it is to browse the internet, the more people will enjoy its excesses. Since online games and betting has traditionally used a lot of data on mobiles, it wasn’t the most popular before. However, with Indian telcos fighting to provide cheaper and cheaper data packs to the public, using up a couple of gigabytes of the data pack doesn’t seem like too much of an ask. Thus, the rising popularity of online apps and websites.
4. The Switch to Digital Payments
For the longest time, India has been a largely cash-based economy, which meant that any business requiring online transactions did not do too well. However, thanks to the recent boom in the digital payment infrastructure in India, people can now easily deposit and withdraw money from gaming apps. UPI and Indian Netbanking have been at the forefront of this switch to digital payments – and they also happen to be the preferred payment method for most Indians who bet online.
5. The Pandemic
While the pandemic may not seem like the obvious answer behind the growth of the Indian gambling industry, it does happen to be one of the most significant of them all. That’s because, within the various lockdowns, people turned to online sources for entertainment – a huge part of which was online gaming. Many users even reported that in a time of uncertainty, online gaming and betting even served as a way to distract themselves from the pandemic.