Online casinos and betting have become a trend nowadays! When people place genuine bets via the internet, this is known as online betting. It consists of betting activities such as playing at online casinos, playing online poker for money, betting on sporting events, and purchasing online lottery tickets and scratchers.
Betting as a recreational activity has been around for a long time. This activity, however, comes with its baggage. Even though it has brought joy and excitement to many people, it is a grey area in society’s moral fabric. Many state governments oppose betting and consider it to be illegal. Even though a large portion of the population gambles regularly, governments in India despise the activity. There always has been a schism between the government and gamblers.
The unprecedented coronavirus arrived in 2020, forcing people to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings. As a result, people began to spend more time indoors, which led to them seeking entertainment or an escape through the digital medium. Online betting was one of the activities that experienced a surge during this period.
The Newfound Popularity of Online betting in India
Online betting is becoming increasingly popular among Indians of all ages. Approximately 80% of the local population gambles at least once a year. Indians’ participation in mobile gaming, online betting, and sports betting has increased significantly since 2020, and it is estimated to grow by 41% by the year 2024.
The question now remains why online betting has become so popular among the masses. Here are some reasons why:
- Ease of Access: In India, finding and playing at an online casino is technically not illegal because citizens access offshore casinos which do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Indian government. Moreover, because of the ease of access to the internet, the population of Indians and the percentage of people joining online servers continue to be significant.
- Variation in Games: The casinos offered online now incorporate games from the industry’s top software developers. Gamblers have a plethora of options to choose from. The online betting scenario has to stay on its toes to provide a diverse range of games to attract the audience. Popular native games such as Teen Patti, Jhandi Munda, and Andar Bahar have also been adapted and developed into mobile and online betting games, where punters can wager real money.
- Progress in Technology: India is a technically advanced country. First, the affordable availability of smartphones, tablets, and PCs has enabled people to access online betting sites from the comfort of their homes. Secondly, there is accessibility and affordability of internet data as well. On the other hand, online betting has effectively eliminated the need to travel to casinos and play physically. The process has been drastically simplified to simply logging onto a specific casino platform and selecting from various available games. Virtual reality allows players to enjoy games as if they were physically present in a land-based established casino.
- Loopholes in Law: States like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have completely prohibited online betting in recent years, whereas Sikkim, Goa, Daman, and Nagaland have permitted it. The central government established a tax commission in the summer of 2021 to investigate the benefits of legalising and taxing online casinos, but it has yet to reach a definitive conclusion. A Madras High Court ruled at the end of August 2021 that a Tamil Nadu law prohibiting gaming was excessive and unconstitutional. Inaction on the central government and states allows businesses and gamblers to take advantage of legal loopholes. The most significant flaw is that India’s betting laws were drafted before 1900 and thus do not explicitly mention online betting. The Information Technology Act of 2000 also fails to address online betting, allowing offshore casinos and sportsbook companies to operate.
The Indian States with Highest Online betting Activity
India is among the top five countries in terms of growth and income potential from online betting, implying that millions of people engage in this activity daily. According to projections, the Indian online casino market will continue to grow at 22% per year, higher than the global average of 16%.
Among the number of online gamers, Delhi, Jaipur, Pune, Lucknow, and Patna have emerged as the top five cities in India. According to the data, most visitors to betting websites come from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Odisha, and Kerala.
The states with a high rate of online betting activity, for example, Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, coincidentally, are the country’s most populous states. Many of these states are now dealing with a population that has increased access to cell phones and the internet and a hobby in online betting.
On the one hand, it is interesting that some of the states with the highest betting rates also have a higher proportion of families living below the poverty line, such as Mumbai in Maharashtra and certain areas Karnataka and Telangana. However, data shows it is still primarily middle-class or those with some disposable income interested in online gaming in general, including online casino sites. In states where online betting is a popular pastime, urbanisation is increasing at an alarming rate.
Future of Online betting in India
Data promises that the scope of online betting in India is bright. The Indian government needs to recognize the potential in this industry and build comprehensive and clear legislation around it to manage the industry, raise social awareness, and reduce technicalities. The government’s assistance would also help the industry restore the country’s economy, which has been badly hit due to the unforeseen pandemic.
Many countries worldwide have used their private betting industries to help strengthen their economies, and there is no reason why India shouldn’t do the same. India’s betting industry has the potential to thrive and become accessible to the general public. International companies and casinos are taking advantage of the central government’s indecision on betting. Once regulation takes place, the betting industry is expected to see a massive boom in India.
- Is it safe to play online casino games?
Yes, the majority of online casino gaming websites are secure and transparent. However, before you start playing casino games on any website, make sure it is legitimate and has a licence.
- What are the best online casino and betting sites?
On the internet, you will find hundreds of online casinos, but not all of them are regulated and authorised. Betway Casino, Uwin Sports, Fun88 Casino, and Pure Casino are just a few of the best online casinos in the market.