European Operators Expanding into Indian Market
Europe is home to the largest gambling companies in the world but the market on the continent is becoming increasingly saturated, leaving some eying the industry in India. With the global market expanding in general, many of the powerhouses of the European gambling scene are looking to get in on the ground floor of the Indian market, which is relatively new and underdeveloped, but which is also growing promisingly.
There has been a general trend in recent years for operators that were once local to a specific country to move towards a more international business model. For European companies, the answer to expansion has often been on their doorstep; remaining within the continent. Larger operators provide services farther afield in their attempt to grow and cement themselves as world leaders in the field of online gambling.
With this in mind, there has been one specific market that many operators have been focusing more heavily than others: India. The industry in this country is in its infancy in many ways, but this lack of development has proved a valuable resource for those operators that are willing to dedicate time and resources to expand in this market.
Ultimately, the potential for growth boils down to the increasing access to the internet in the second most populated nation on the planet. This country is estimated to have some 500 million active internet users, a figure that is growing continuously. The large number of inhabitants that are connected to the internet represents a huge pool of potential customers for operators.
Legality of Gambling in India
Despite the large investments of international gambling service providers, the legality of betting in the country remains a contentious point. The practice is illegal in most of the country but there are currently no laws that prohibit online gambling. This apparent loophole is what is often exploited by large, European companies that are seeking to develop their business interests in the region.
This workaround of the laws in the country is what has allowed the citizens of India to place bets on the most popular sport in the country, cricket. Gambling websites often don’t directly allow consumers to wager money. Instead, they will connect the Indian punters to the services of international bookmakers, where they can then bet on contests such as the Indian Premier League.
The loophole makes use of the Indian laws that prohibit land-based gambling, from sports betting to table games in the country. These laws make such practices by Indian companies explicitly illegal but the practice of offshore companies offering their services to Indian citizens via the internet is more ambiguous.
The question marks surrounding the legality of gambling in the country have not slowed down the investment of foreign, European businesses. The growth of internet infrastructure in the country is facilitating the development of offshore gambling. As European companies seek to capitalize on the development of the increased access to the internet, the options for gambling in India also continue to grow.
The gambling market in the country has received substantial amounts of money in foreign investments. In total, since 2014, gambling companies (many of which are based predominantly in Europe) have invested more than 350 million US dollars in the industry. This investment has helped to drive the growth of gambling in India, and the market is now worth more than 930 million US dollars.
This growth is not expected to slow down any time soon either. Experts in the industry have suggested that the market could expand by a huge 41% each year. In fact, by the end of 2020, the value of the gambling market in India is expected to exceed 1.1 billion US dollars. Experts are also forecasting an increase in players that is driving this growth. By the end of the year, it is predicted that there will be some 630 million online gamblers in India.
Why European Operators are Thriving in the Market
In general, casinos that are based in India tend to only offer a limited variety of services to their consumers. As a result of this, punters can only gamble in such casinos on a small range of games. These games are also largely limited in the size of bonuses they can offer as well, owing to the small size of the casinos.
This is in stark contrast to the well-established European casinos that are making their way into the country. These are already large, multi-national enterprises that can offer consumers in the country a wider array of games paired with larger bonuses and jackpots to increase interest and traffic to their websites.
In general, European casinos will offer hundreds, if not thousands of different games to gamblers. This high level of variety has helped these businesses grow within their respective countries and continent and, now, will seemingly aid them to grow within the Indian market. The different games are attractive to Indian consumers, many of whom play online.
Additionally, with the number of Indians that are connected to the internet growing quickly, this advantage of variety that is held by European businesses will likely cause this divide to increase in the future as more online gamblers emerge in the market.
Current estimates suggest that by the turn of 2021, more than 55% of the country’s 1.3 billion inhabitants will be connected to the internet. At this time, the value gambling market is also expected to have sky-rocketed to more than 3.3 billion US dollars. This potential for growth is a huge driving factor for why so many European businesses are looking to diversify their portfolio into Indian markets.
Those that are making the leap into this industry have begun to develop games that are specifically suited to the Indian market. For example, there are games like Andah Bahar and Teen Patti that are now available on several European gambling sites.
Additionally, Betway has already been involved in the development and release of two casino games that are specifically targeted towards the Indian market. These are live casino games that feature dealers that speak Hindi. They are called Bollywood Roulette and Bollywood Blackjack.
It is also becoming increasingly common for European operators to accept payments in the form of Rupees, the national currency of India. This is not the only method that such companies are employing to open the door to more Indian gamblers. Operators that are looking to expand into this developing market are also increasingly allowing players to view their websites in Hindi.
The Indian market looks set to grow in the coming months and years, which is a fact that many European operators are looking to exploit. It is not only European businesses investing in the industry, but also businesses based in other Asian countries. Overall hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested at present and this money seems set to catapult the industry to new heights in the country.