There is a sense that the Indian iGaming market is experiencing something of a lift-off moment. According to a study by India Internet Player Society (IIPS), approximately 80% of adult Indians now gamble at least once a year. In 2019, India’s iGaming market was said to be worth 62 billion INR and forecasts suggest this figure could hit 250 billion INR in the coming decades.
One of the main reasons behind the domestic iGaming scene surging in recent years has been the focus of operators on Indian popular culture. Several of the most established iGaming sites have also developed India-specific games to tap into Indian popular culture. Classic card games like Teen Patti and Andar Bahar are now freely available to those accessing from an Indian IP address. Jackpot Guru, which is ranked as one of the best online casino in India by Lucky Dice, has a wide selection of Indian games, including the historic dice game Jhandi Munda.
According to Statista, more than 40,000 citizens are employed in the Indian gambling market, some of which include the online subsector with the rise of live dealer studios that beam back games to desktop and mobile devices in real-time. In fact, it’s mobile devices that hold the key to India’s sustained iGaming growth. It’s said that 600+ million Indians now own and regularly use their smartphones for leisure purposes. That creates a potential target market of 600 million iGamers and, with internet and mobile satellite connectivity improving year-on-year, there is a real opportunity for fully responsive mobile casinos to proliferate and even overtake their desktop counterparts in the coming years.
India’s iGaming scene is still a drop in the ocean compared with the US iGaming market
A recent report published by BCG-Sequoia India suggested that the Indian iGaming market accounted for just over 1% of the global marketplace. Although there is significant potential for growth in the Indian scene, it pales into insignificance compared with the rapid expansion and commercial success of the US iGaming market.
According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), its 2021 State of the States dossier showed that iGaming revenues raked in almost as much as sports betting – and the current available market for iGaming is considerably smaller than sports betting, which has more widespread approval stateside.
In the 12 months to June 2021, online gross gaming revenues soared by 312% year-on-year, totaling $2.61 billion. This was around 85% of online gross sports betting revenues for the same period. The dominant iGaming market in the US remains the Garden State of New Jersey, which accounted for almost a quarter (24.3%) of the online gross gaming revenues last year. In fact, the US iGaming market has already comfortably overtaken other established iGaming markets, namely the Italian and Australian iGaming markets. However, the UK iGaming market remains the most established in the western world, with gross gaming revenues approaching $12 billion for the year to June 2021.
To put it into context, four of the ten biggest iGaming markets on the planet based on gross gaming revenues are US states. India is still nowhere to be seen on the top ten list, but contextually the country is certainly warming up to iGaming and could yet become one of the most fascinating markets for operators in the years to come.