India’s iGaming Market Expected To Spike Again In May 2021
The global iGaming market witnessed a significant spike in 2020 due to the global pandemic that caused a worldwide lockdown. India was one of the many countries that witnessed this iGaming spike as online casinos witnessed new player signups, longer playing time, and increased gross gaming revenues.
The spike flattened out to a major extent towards the end of 2020 and early 2021 in India as things started to return to normal. However, another pandemic wave has caused massive problems in India, with over 300,000 individuals testing positive daily and over 3,000 deaths being reported from the pandemic.
Extended Lockdown In May
With things going out of control in most states in India, there was no other option but for multiple state governments to call for another lockdown. States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are imposing a strict lockdown from May 10 to May 24, after which the situation will be reviewed, and the government will decide if the lockdown needs to be extended or removed.
iGaming operators targeting the Indian market are expecting another surge in player traffic and are prepared for a repeat of 2020. It is not just the lockdown that is expected to contribute to the iGaming spike but also several direct and indirect factors.
2021 IPL Cancellation
iGaming sites in India were prepared for less activity in May because the Indian Premier League (IPL) was taking place in India. The IPL, which is the richest domestic T20 league globally, started in late April and was expected to end with the 2021 IPL final on May 30. In India, sports betting sites saw an uptick in betting action as IPL matches were set to take place daily in May.
However, the BCCI was forced to suspend the IPL as multiple players and staff started testing positive. With no more IPL betting action in May, Indian players again turn their attention to online casino games.
Land Based Casinos Closed
Goa is one of the three places in India with land-based casinos and is by far the most popular location for Indians to gamble. Goa is also going through a lockdown phase, and casino operators like Delta Corp have decided to shut down their casinos. The closure of Goa’s land-based casinos will also push players to online casino games.
Special Promotions To Welcome Players
iGaming operators in India are aware of the current situation and are rolling out some special promotions and offers to keep players busy. The signup bonus package at multiple Indian-facing casinos has been specifically designed to welcome new players, while existing promotions have been customized to keep existing players busy.
Several players signed up and played online casino games during the lockdown in 2020 but then stopped playing once the lockdown was lifted. iGaming operators are looking to bring back these players during this lockdown in May 2021.
No Gaming Regulator
It is also important to keep in mind that India does not have a regulated online gambling industry. However, offshore gaming operators continue to target the Indian market as the current gambling laws do nothing to prevent this. Since online gambling is not legal in India, you don’t have a gaming regulator.
This works well for many iGaming operators as there are little to no restrictions when it comes to targeting the Indian gaming market. iGaming operators will be spending heavily on the advertising and marketing budgets in May as they look to promote their games and stay ahead of the competition aggressively.
Live Dealer Casino Games
Expect to see more Indian players turn their attention to live dealer casino games. While most Indian players have not been to a land-based casino, they are enjoying the option of being able to switch over to a live dealer casino and interact with a human dealer.
Online casinos with a live dealer casino offering have a better chance of bringing in new players and keeping existing players than casinos that do not have a live dealer casino suite. Lots of players like to have the option to interact with a human dealer, chat with other players through the live chat option and play their favorite live dealer games.
Problem Gambling Concerns
While iGaming operators are expected to make hay while the sun shines in May, it is also a cause for concern. While iGaming numbers spiked in 2020, so did the number of gambling addicts in India. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are two states that decided to ban online gambling after witnessing a spike in gambling debts and suicides.
We will have to wait for a couple of months to figure out what impact the May 2021 lockdown has had on the online gambling industry in India.