When Sachin Tendulkar and the rest of the Indian cricket team arrived for an ass whipping in England earlier this summer, most of India’s gamblers were feverishly excited. Sachin was aiming to score his 100th century in international cricket and the public were well up for a flutter – to the tune of 2billion rupees. Most of that will be gambled at unregulated firms although many companies are already planning to take advantage of the country with the second-largest population in the world.
The latest of those is 2UP Gaming that is seeking to secure partnership deals with companies in the South Asian country in order to “further globalise their gaming products.” 2UP are focused on the development of a coin toss game that they hope will catch on across the continent as well as a number of other gaming and wagering options. They already have a deal in place with Asian pool betting giant ToteDaddy for the launch of products on their site and the company is understandably excited.
Managing Director Peter Bentley commented, “India is the largest region with the biggest growth potential for online gambling and it will be exciting to get amongst this increasingly popular market. As a result of the rapid increase of internet access and usage in the region, the online gaming market in India increasing exponentially.
“India’s gaming industry is booming with a base of over 100 million internet users and 41 percent of them regularly accessing gambling websites. With their broadband technology still behind the rest of the world, it allows for the industry to increase even more as their access improves.”
Much of the growth in wagering is centred on the sport of cricket and the grey area surrounding the online gambling industry means that many are able to put their bets on using this method. One province, Sikkim, passed an online gaming (regulation) act back in July 2008 that gave licenses to around three local companies to operate sites from the region. The many international gambling sites are reaping the benefits from the ban on land-based sports betting, except horseracing, though.
The surge in online gambling in Indian moved a report by Media and Entertainment Consulting Network (MECN) to estimate that the entire Indian gambling industry was worth an estimated US$60billion back in 2009. That includes unlicensed land-based bookmakers and goes to show just how much money the Indian authorities are missing by not regulating certain types of the gambling industry.
This is not the only opportunity in Asia and it is part of the larger pot of what is the fastest growing part of the gambling industry anywhere in the world. Although the potential for sports betting, especially on cricket, in India will remain at this high level for some time to come.