Online gaming has become a huge market over the past couple of decades, attracting millions of players around the world. While some countries were quick to embrace online casino games and put up the framework to regulate them, others were slow on the uptake. India is one such location where online gambling has only just started to take off, but we’re going to be seeing some huge growth from the country in coming years.
Online Gaming Laws in India
India’s online gambling market continues to grow, but the country’s laws aren’t really keeping up. Currently, there is no law in place that prohibits overseas casinos from offering their services to local players. In the same vein, there are no laws that dictate whether or not players from India are allowed to play casino games online.
As such, the online gambling market in India is unregulated by the local market. Unlike countries like the United Kingdom or states like New Jersey, there is no Indian commission that licenses online gaming companies to operate within the country.
All this means for Indian players is that they have to be careful about where they choose to play. Since there isn’t one local entity that vets online gaming sites that operate in India, players have to do their own thorough research in order to determine what the most trustworthy and reputable sites are.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available and most of the offshore sites that players will encounter are licensed in some way. Malta, Gibraltar and Curacao are just a few of the dozen jurisdictions that license online casino and poker sites that operate in India, ensuring that operators stick to player protection and security measures that keep them safe while gaming online.
The Beginnings: India’s Online Poker Boom
The online poker boom in India seems to have come around a little bit later than in the United States, and the market continues to thrive. While online poker in the USA saw its heyday at the turn of the 21st Century, India’s market only started taking off about 10 years later.
This can be credited to India’s most successful online poker player, Vivek Rajkumar, who got his start playing poker online in 2009. He began playing online under the username “psyduck” at Party Poker, turning a $50 deposit (borrowed from his dad) into hundreds of thousands of dollars in winnings over several years. He is now the top winner on India’s All-Time Money List with total live earnings of $4.4 million. In fact, he’s 261st on the worldwide All-Time Money – a very close standing to the likes of Annie Duke and Jake Cody.
Vivek’s legacy has certainly inspired other players across India. With droves of players flocking to poker sites over the course of the past decade, his success as a professional poker player is certainly one of the major reasons for growth in this market.
Big Business for Small Companies in India
Big-name online poker websites have recently experienced tremendous success in India, inspiring smaller start-ups to get involved. In an interview with the Economic Times, poker start-up founder Rajat Agarwal noted that there are now several homegrown sites that attract tens of thousands of players from across the country. While this doesn’t really compare to the kind of poker sites that are households names on an international scale, it does allow for the owners of these start-ups to turn a profit.
From Online Poker to Online Casino Games
Poker is, by far, the most popular online gambling activity among Indian players, but we are beginning to see more and more activity at general casino websites. Many operators that primarily deal in poker also offer a range of slots and table games for players to enjoy, so it’s not uncommon for players to dabble in other activities in between tournaments and juicy cash games.
This has led online casinos to get involved in India’s online gaming market, launching sites that cater more to players who are interested in playing more casual games of luck. Online slots, blackjack and roulette are among the most popular casino games for Indian players to experience online, with live dealer games becoming more prevalent in the market.
A Bright Future for Online Gambling India
Over the past few years, there has been significant growth for not only online poker but also casino games in India. In 2017, the market was estimated to be worth $338.4 million and is expected to grow threefold over the next few years.
Experts anticipate that India’s online gaming market will be worth $1.1 billion by 2021, with growth driven by mobile gaming from players in India. Players in South-East Asia and the Middle East are also expected to largely contribute to these numbers.
While things are already looking good for online gaming in India, there are certainly some amazing things to come. Casino and poker companies can look forward to the market growing even more in the coming years, leading them to expand operations and offer players an even greater range of gaming experiences.