NPCI Targets Gaming Market With New UPI Transactions Restrictions
The online gambling market as a whole in India witnessed a massive spike in 2020 with the COVID-19 lockdown. There has been a surge in new iGaming traffic and new player registrations across multiple verticals, including online casino games, daily fantasy sports (DFS) sports betting, and e-Sports.
Gambling is banned in most parts of India, with a couple of exceptions. However, offshore betting and gaming operators continue to target the Indian market as the current gaming regulations in India do not make any specific reference to banning offshore gaming operators.
IPL Results In Massive Transaction Spike
iGaming and DFS operators were expecting a massive spike in player traffic during the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL is the world’s richest and most popular domestic T20 tournament, where eight IPL franchises battle it out for 6 weeks every year.
The 2021 IPL started on April 09 and will finish on May 30. IPL games are scheduled daily, and sportsbooks and DFS operators are running several special IPL promotions to get new players to register and place their bets on their favorite IPL teams.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has noted a significant spike in UPI transactions being carried out at DFS and iGaming sites and has decided to place restrictions on UPI transactions below 50 rupees.
NPCI To Ban UPI Gaming Transactions Below 50 INR
The Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is a specialised payment system created by the NPCI and is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank in India. The UPI platform allows users to transfer funds from their bank account to another bank account using different UPI apps, including PhonePe, Paytm, and BHIM.
The big difference between using internet banking and UPI is that you don’t have to enter the receiver’s bank details, which you need to do when using net banking. UPI has become a very popular method of carrying out mobile payments throughout India. Many top DFS and online gaming sites now offer UPI as one of their standard payment methods.
This is one of the reasons why the NPCI has been able to pick up an unusual spike in UPI transactions to gaming sites during the last two weeks. The UPI will only block transactions below 50 rupees made to gaming sites; there will be no restrictions imposed on transactions below 50 rupees to other sites.
Paytm has already sent out a notice to their users to inform them that their transactions below 50 rupees to DFS and gaming sites will no longer be processed. The UPI expects the transaction volumes at gaming sites to decline significantly once the ban is fully enforced across all UPI apps.
What Are The Alternatives?
There are many different alternatives to continue making deposits at online gaming and DFS sites during IPL 2021. Instead of carrying out transactions below 50 rupees, the most obvious alternative is to make sure that your deposit amount exceeds 50 rupees.
The other alternative is to use the different banking options available at your online gaming site and use one you are familiar with. Some of the popular banking options offered to Indian players include credit/debit cards, popular e-wallets like Skrill, PayPal, Neteller, and MuchBetter. Many betting sites offer net banking services with popular banks, including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and SBI.
Very few sites offer cryptocurrency options because cryptocurrency is also a grey area in India at the moment. While cryptocurrencies are not banned in India, they are currently frowned upon as the government has announced that it is making plans to ban cryptocurrencies in the immediate future.
Watch Out For Dodgy Sites
Indian players should pay special attention when signing up at new betting, casino, and DFS sites. Many illegal online gaming operators have started to target the Indian gaming market in the lead-up to IPL 2021. These illegal sites are rogue sites that target Indian players by scamming them in different ways.
Sometimes the games are fixed in favour of the house, and the player has no chance of winning. Rogue operators can also make it difficult for players to cash out their winnings as the operator throws in several conditions and excuses to prevent players from taking out their money. These rogue operators can often steal personal and financial details and then carry out unauthorized transactions.
Indian players should always be aware and carry out due research before signing up at any new gaming site in 2021!