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How the Indian Online Sports Betting Market is Making a Difference!

Summary: Driven by the growing internet users in India, the online sports betting in India have seen an exponential growth. Find out how the betting industry has reached so far and what future does it hold in India.

In 2018, when Forbes reported that the industry of online sports gambling was going to become a billion-dollar market in the future, seldom there was any doubt about it. India is home to more than 1.5 billion people, and with a huge number of sports bettors in the country, the industry is expected to reach $1.1 billion by 2020.

Despite the state laws against gambling (the Public Act of Gambling 1867), the popularity of online sports betting has been on a rise. Although the act of gambling has been an integral part of India`s culture, it is interesting to see that the laws that were made in the 19th century are regulating the act of betting in the country. The vague and unclear laws of gambling do not include fantasy sports and online betting, as it is deemed as a form of skill-based online sports.

The central government of India has made it clear that each and every state has a right to decide and set its own laws on this new form of wagering. Where Goa and Sikkim have made gambling a legal act, Maharashtra has completely banned the act of betting. The lawmakers have finally begun to question the legality of the online sports betting and daily fantasy sports and many are now calling for India to fully legalize the sports betting industry.

The Law Commission of India began pushing for sports-related betting to become a legitimate act and many groups, including Minister of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, is now agreeing with this proposal. He has introduced a bill of regularization of this industry that would benefit the country on a greater level.

Legal Aspects of Online Sports Betting & Fantasy Sports

Many anti-gambling groups in India have filed a PIL to ban the online gaming industry in May, this year. The major reason was the addiction of gambling as many countries in Europe are tackling gambling issues. But the ruling by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and the subsequent affirmation by the Honourable Supreme Court on fantasy sports league and online sports betting as a “game of skill”, rather than a fluke has also helped in spreading awareness about the legality of the online gambling. 

Emergence of Various Sports Leagues

With the advent of various sporting leagues finding their way to India over the last few years, the number of users interested in sports like football, kabaddi, basketball, badminton and cricket are engaging in fantasy sports. While the advent of multiple sporting leagues provides them with a number of opportunities to bet, the Indian Premier League (IPL) remains the top favorite- both from a sporting as well as fantasy sports point of view. The reason behind it could be the presence of both national as well as overseas players that ensures a keen following of these leagues on fantasy sports platforms as well.

Due to the upsurge in digital usage, online sports gambling in India has seen a tremendous growth in rate. The revenues that the industry generates has nearly doubled over a period of four years, reaching INR 43.8 billion in FY18 and expected to grow further at a CAGR of 22.1% from FY 1-23, expected to reach INR 118.8 billion. Also, the number of gamers has grown nearly ten times over 2010-2018, which has also stimulated the growth in online gaming activity as well as in-game developing companies over the same period.

Growth in Digital Users

Nearly half of India`s population has a smartphone, and many of the online gambling sites operating in this country often target these smartphone users. Cheap data plans and affordable mobile prices are helping to grow this industry tremendously.

One of the reasons behind the growth of online sports betting in India is the number of internet subscribers that has grown from 368 million in September 2016 to 560 million in September 2018, out of which 86% were broadband subscribers. The development of digital infrastructure has led to the availability of high-speed internet in the hands of the Indian masses that helped fantasy sports to grow further.

Easy access to any online sports betting site, at any given moment irrespective of the location and time, has significantly helped the user engagement around fantasy sports.

Increased Funding

The rapid explosion in the figures of revenues and the number of sports bettors keen to get engaged in online betting has been well supported by continued investor interest in some of the leading players in the market. Many bookmakers like CricNWin and DailyFantasy Cricket has raised funding of more than USD3.5 million. Most of the popular sports like football, cricket, kabaddi and basketball are available on fantasy sports platforms, which is the most prominent reason behind the popularity of online sports betting.

Bridging the Gap with Technological Advancement

The gap that has been in the existence between a real user and fantasy sports has been shredded into hundreds of pieces- thanks to major technological developments. The online bookmakers and Fantasy Sports operators are all on their toes to come up with something innovative in order to enhance the real-time experience of users. Also, there are so many gaming and betting video tips cropping up every now and then on social media platforms to amplify the product offering.

Higher Fan Engagement

The rise of online fantasy sports gaming in India has not only mushroomed the user`s interest in sports, but it has also spawned a whole ecosystem around it. Also, the emergence of online sports betting is driving a deeper connection between sports fans and real-life sports. The act of fantasy sports has converted many casual sports viewers into dedicated fans. According to a research that shows that in the United States, a sports user evolves into a fantasy sport user and consumes 80% more sports. Hence, by increasing the connection between live games and fantasy games, online sports betting helps increase user engagement.  

Excerpts: India is one of the many countries around the world where although gambling is a restricted act, it is on a continuous rise. The country`s sports betting market has experienced a lot of growth in the past few years with a growing number of users. Hence, even though gambling is restricted in various parts of the country, the online sports betting industry has a brighter future here. Being a huge source of revenue, the online gambling industry is going to get bigger and bigger. And, thanks to the country`s unwavering love for cricket, the Indian gambling market is expected to grow in many folds.

 

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