What Does 2021 Look Like For The Gambling Industry In India?
India technically does not allow gambling as a whole with only a couple of states being exempt from this rule. However, due to grey areas in state gambling laws, some offshore operators and domestic operators have run profitable online gambling operations over the last few years.
As a result, the online casino, online poker, daily fantasy sports (DFS), sports betting, and online lottery industry has leapfrogged in recent years.
COVID-19 Will Help iGaming To Grow
COVID-19 rocked 2020, which caused massive changes to the global iGaming industry as a global lockdown forced millions of players who had never played at an online casino to go online and check out new iGaming avenues.
India was one of the countries that were significantly impacted by COVID-19. The lockdown forced many younger generations to go online and play loads of online casino games and DFS games. The lockdown period was a great time for iGaming operators in India as player traffic soared, the number of new players grew exponentially, and business thrived.
Expect the iGaming market in India to continue to grow in 2021 as COVID-19 is still very much a factor in India. While India flirts with the idea of rolling out COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, don’t expect India to be fully vaccinated anytime soon. The initial rollout of the vaccine will take place in the first half of 2021.
iGaming operators quickly recognised the opportunity during the lockdown and boosted their advertising and marketing efforts to compete in this fiercely growing market. This trend will continue in 2021 as iGaming operators pump loads of money into their marketing and advertising campaigns.
Expect More Games and Prize Money
Gaming operators across the world are beginning to pay more attention to the Indian gaming market. As a result, several new games are being developed to cater specifically to the Indian gaming market.
Indian facing casinos are also tying up with more gaming developers to strengthen their gaming offerings for the Indian market. Indian players in the past were not keen on trying out new slots and online poker tournaments. However, all that has changed as in the last couple of years more Indian players have embraced slots and have done well in the online poker world.
iPoker operators such as Adda52, PokerStars India and Poker Baazi will continue to host attractive poker tournaments with bigger prize pools than ever before. The poker demographic in India is actively growing as many young people are looking to be professional poker players as they realise that they can make a living playing poker online and do really well for themselves thanks to the big prize pools.
Mobile Gaming To Boom
The younger generation of Indian players favour their mobile devices when it comes to gaming. The ability to access their favorite online casino games, DFS games and sports betting while on the move works well for millennials and Gen Y.
Expect more games and tournaments to cater specifically to mobile users and incentivise them by providing special mobile bonuses and promotions. You can expect the number of mobile gaming players to increase in 2021.
Gaming Legislation 2021
Things are going to be very interesting in India when it comes to gaming legislation. The push-in multiple states to legalise gambling will continue. The push to get state legislators to recognise that poker is a game of skill and not of chance will continue. Whether more states will be open to legalising online gambling in 2021 remains to be seen.
The biggest question is whether states like Delhi and Karnataka will pass laws to ban all forms of online gambling. In recent months, public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in these states against online gambling operators. The PIL alleged that iGaming operators have taken advantage of the grey area in state gambling legislation and are offering online gambling services that are causing problems.
These PIL filings state that the thousands of youth have been drawn into gambling through clever marketing and advertising. A number of these youth have accumulated huge debts due to their gambling activities, and a number of these young people have also committed suicide as they were unable to pay back their gambling debts.
State governments have been put under pressure to either work on gambling regulation to police the online gambling market or make a decision and ban online gambling completely. The state of Tamil Nadu decided to ban online gambling in late 2020, and it is quite possible that a few other states might follow Tamil Nadu in 2021.