Entertainment remains one of the major growth drivers in just about every city or country that has a development studio within its midst. For example, Newzoo indicates that the top five gaming countries by total revenues, namely, China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Germany, share a combined US$119bn in gaming-related income, a figure that should provide all the incentives a government needs to invest in interactive media. Yet, India is not listed in the study.
Casino gaming and general gambling are often absent from these statistics, as they’re considered an entertainment niche in their own right. So, while India doesn’t make the grade at all in Newzoo’s 2020 Global Games Market Report, the country’s interest in gaming media does go beyond traditional video games. Rummy is, of course, eternally popular in India but the appetite for mainstream casino experiences is evolving.
A Significant Response
Certain states, including Sikkim and Goa, now permit casino-style entertainment like slots and blackjack. The comparison site CasinoWings explains more about this topic while listing Cric10, BollyBet, Royal Panda, and MegaRush as four of 25 casinos that accept Indian customers. In fact, many sites now offer prompt withdrawals and various bonuses. CasinoWings notes that the popularity of both sports betting and casino games is a relatively new thing in India but the response so far has been significant.
Each state in the country is given a choice over what type of betting or gambling is permissible within its borders under the Public Gambling Act of 1976. This mirrors the situation in the United States, which continues to increase the number of places where casinos can operate. However, research indicates that between 40% and 80% of Indian adults gamble regularly, which conflicts with the low number of casinos in the country.
Andar Bahar and Teen Patti
As Indian culture, language, and society is distinct from that of the West and almost all neighbouring countries, one of the major barriers to the uptake of both video gaming and casino gaming in India is localisation. After all, how many internationally recognised gaming franchises offer the option to play in Telugu or Marathi? The only non-European languages that EA’s FIFA 20 offers are Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese, for example.
So, while the appearance of casino sites based on the Subcontinent is an obvious boon for local players and entrepreneurs, there’s still plenty to be done to make online gaming more India-friendly. For instance, the website BollyBet offers Andar Bahar and Teen Patti in their ‘live’ casino lobby but the absence of rummy is notable. The game has been playable online via Android and iOS apps for quite some time now.
India has 1.36bn citizens, making it a fraction smaller than China and significantly larger than the US. Around 50% of the country’s population are also in their early twenties, arguably, one of the most important demographics for video and casino gaming. The country is therefore a prominent market for digital media of all forms, yet its development into a haven for gaming is both slow and incomplete.