For a country in which gambling is largely outlawed but for three states, the statistics for casino gaming in India make for unexpected reading for anyone with an interest in the sector’s key emerging markets.
It is estimated that betting turnover in the country is worth in excess of $1.6 billion, even though casinos are only allowed in the states of Goa, Daman and Sikkim.
The shining light of India’s casino scene is Delta Corp, who have just announced their quarterly figures up until September 2019. And their profit jump – a whopping 22.7% - just goes to underline the potential for the industry in the Asian nation. In real terms, that was an increase of approximately $1.6 million in three months.
So what is firing the uptake in demand for casino gaming in India? Certainly, an availability of options helps. There are now a dozen casinos across Goa and Sikkim operating from five star hotels, with four more operating as ‘floating’ casinos on the Mandovi River. Indeed, Delta Corp has just purchased a 25% stakeholding in Jalesh Cruises, which will increase its watery footprint and increase the number of people wagering on their games.
And as far as the online gaming landscape is concerned, millions of Indians are accessing betting sites that allow them to wager in their domestic currency, Rupees, or via e-wallet systems that are available in the country. There will be more than 530 million smartphone users in India by the end of 2019 according to estimates, and each of them can access traditional online and live casino games from brands such as ComeOn, who have a dedicated Indian mini-site covering blackjack, baccarat and roulette.
Online poker is another growth sector in India too. Delta has brought out Adda52.com, which is the premier provider of online poker gaming in the country, and the indications are that this is another likely area for expansion as India’s appetite for gambling grows.
It’s perhaps no surprise that Mark Watts, the managing director of Paysafecard, has already confirmed that his brand’s ‘focus includes emerging markets such as India’.
Rule Changes Could Strengthen India’s Gaming Sector
There had long been rumors of an expansion of the casino landscape in Goa, with former chief minister Manohar Parrikar planning to greenlight a new land-based entertainment zone in the state, aided by the creation of a dedicated gaming regulator.
Sadly, Parrikar passed away in March. However, optimism has been renewed by the new chief minister, Pramod Sawant, who is an advocate of gambling in Goa. He has praised the impact of tourism on the state’s economy and believes that casinos have a key role to play in that expansion.
And Sawant has also confirmed that plan to move the offshore casinos to a dedicated area, and the formation of a new Gaming Commission, are both very much back on the table.
While talks are ongoing, the floating casinos have been given a six-month extension to their licences, which will ensure the minimum of disruption.
All in all, the future looks bright for casino gaming in India.