India may not immediately come to mind when thinking of global gambling hotspots. Tracking is ultimately banned in much of the country, with the states of Sikkim and Goa being two or very few exceptions. Nevertheless, the nation has been making industry headlines with increasing regularity lately, with new online casinos in India causing a huge increase in online betting.
Outdated laws failing to keep pace
Although real-world gambling is banned in most parts of India, that certainly does not mean that there is no appetite to place a bet. As in many parts of the world, Indians have been playing for centuries. However, thanks to the Public Gaming Act of 1867, many who wanted to fix their bets were forced to either do so illegally or travel to another state to participate in casino games.
Everything changes with the Internet
The 1867 law that so effectively restricted gambling within India's borders does not take into account online gambling. Hardly a surprise given that PCs, cell phones and the internet were all science fiction at the time the law was written.
This lack of online regulation combined with the proliferation of mobile phones and vastly improved internet coverage has created the perfect storm for offshore online casino operators. Online casinos, never missing an opportunity, are now starting to target the Indian market more and more.
A perfectly legal hobby
The country's longstanding ban on land-based gambling has led many to believe that gambling of any kind is outlawed. However, when it comes to online gambling, this is simply not the case. Provided the online operator is not based in India but rather in a jurisdiction where tracking is legal, Indian players over the age of 18 are free to register, deposit and play as they wish.
Considering the alternatives of dubious illegal gambling or traveling long distances to place a bet, it is really no surprise that the online gambling industry in India is showing such exponential growth. The benefits for the player are numerous, some of the main attractions being:
Convenience - Why travel when you can play casino games from the comfort of your own home?
Ease of Payment - Online casinos targeting the Indian market go to great lengths to cater to the country's most popular payment options, including Google Pay, PhonePe and Paytm.
Sign Up Bonus - Most sites offer an incentive to sign up, through matched deposits, free spins, or otherwise. None of these are likely to be found in a land-based casino or some shady clandestine operation.
More choice - While the country's limited number of land-based casinos only offer a certain number of games, the choice of online games can run into the thousands.
Security - A great advantage that online gambling is accepted in society. Online casinos are fully licensed and regulated and use extensive controls to discourage underage gambling.
Sports Betting Options - Another big draw is the opportunity to bet on sporting events, especially the country's national sport of cricket
With a huge and available market that has been out of legal betting options for so long, it's no surprise that online gambling is proving to be such a hit in India. And barring a legislative change - which doesn't seem likely - the events of recent years could be just the beginning. With more and more sites entering the market, India looks set to become one of the fastest growing areas in the gambling industry.