Gambling is very popular for many people all over the world, and online casinos have given access to gaming sites that many who before were unable to travel to traditional casinos or bookmakers. The online casino industry has changed gambling and given access to potentially billions of new gamblers. According to industry experts, 40% of all Indian internet users use the internet to gamble online, and online casinos and sports bookmakers are reaping the benefits. The number of Indian online gamblers per capita is set to overtake the United Kingdom, research suggests nearly 80% of people gamble at least once a year in India.
For the fiscal year ending 2018, the online casino and sports bookmakers in India turned a revenue of 44 billion Indian rupees (approximately $6 billion). This figure is set to rise with analysts predicting in 2023 with online slots leading the way, 120 billion Indian rupees being spent by gamblers online per year. This is a huge market that is gaining popularity all over India apart from 2 states which have banned online gambling, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Many international gaming companies and operators are trying to move in and capitalize on the growing trend of online casinos in India. The most popular sites offer all the usual games including poker, slots, baccarat, and roulette, along with thousands of other popular games, many unique to Asian gamblers.
Gambling Online Has Become The Biggest Pastime For Many Indians
One of the reasons online casinos have become so popular in India is the lack of traditional brick and mortar casinos, most people simply have no access to them. The Indian government allows each state to make its own laws and regulations concerning gambling, at present only three states Goa, Sikkim, and Daman have issued licenses for land-based casinos. This has made many Indians look to online casinos for their gambling needs, it is expected other states will allow traditional casinos to operate, but it is unclear when.
Technically almost all forms of gambling in India are illegal, so Indians look abroad to open online casino accounts. Foreign companies are more than happy to oblige this growing trend, even accepting payments in rupees. Online gambling is a bit of legal grey area in India, which many people argue leaves gamblers in an unprotected area. Currently, most online casino and gambling sites are regulated by the Curacao Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. The lack of Indian regulation means India is losing an estimated $140 million each year through tax losses. This is largely irrelevant to Indian casino online gamblers, they are just happy to be able to access the market and are not concerned by the government’s lack of regulation.
Accessing The Internet Has Never Been so Easy
Having good access to the internet for many Indians has helped the online casino and gambling industry to grow to the size and popularity that is seen today. Over the past 25 years, the middle class has grown over 20 times what it once was, with more and more households now earning over $10,000 disposable income each year. This has led India to have the second-largest number of internet users in the world, with an estimated 760 million smartphone users in 2021. The infrastructure and technology have also been improved dramatically over the years for internet services, trying to keep up with the rise in population and keeping Indians connected with the world.
More free time and the sheer number of smart devices and computers that the middle class can afford have helped give rise to the popularity of online casinos. Even in rural areas, internet access is possible in most parts of the country, it’s all the palm of your hand and the tip of your fingers. No need to travel to states where gambling and walk-in casinos are permitted, Indians can play from the comfort of their own home.
What Games Are Indians Playing at Online Casinos?
Across the world, slots are the most popular casino game to play either online or in traditional casinos, accounting for 70 – 80 percent of the revenue of the house. Simple to play and bright, vibrant, and fast it is easy to see why slots are so popular, but Indians whilst enjoying slots tend to stick to games online they are more familiar with. Online casinos report that the most popular games played are:
- Teen Patti
- Andar Bahar
- Indian Rummy
- Poker and all its variants
Of the foreign games, baccarat is the most popular with Indian online casino users, easy to learn, and with a good chance to beat the house. Roulette is also becoming more popular due to the randomness of the game.
You Can Play for High or Low Stakes at Online Casinos
Another reason online casinos are so popular in India is the flexibility of most of the games you can play. Whether you are playing for fun or trying to win big, online casinos cater to all players. High rollers can join big money games, and people playing for fun can stake extremely low, both can still enjoy themselves. This can also be done in some brick and mortar casinos, but not as readily available as online casinos provide.
Something that is very rare to find in land-based casinos but most online casinos offer is free games to play. Online casinos are in the unique position of not needing floor space, that traditional casinos value so highly, they cannot offer free games; it costs them too much money. Online casinos offer free games for a few reasons, to give you a taste of the casino, give you somewhere to practice, and hone your skills before playing for real money.
The rise in the popularity of online casinos is in part due to the wealth being more evenly distributed amongst Indians, the huge increase of the middle class proves that. Access to the internet for most of the population has also helped fuel online casino gambling. But it is India’s love of gambling and its willingness to embrace new technology, that has given rise to one of the world’s largest online casino markets.