India's online gambling market is growing, and it's all thanks to improved internet penetration and the rise in mobile device usage nationally, according to new research conducted by ENV Media.
The ENV Media report, titled India's Richest Cities and Its Large Online Gambling Communities, matched secondary statistics with its proprietary primary analytical data, revealing insights into the "natural growth" of India's online gambling market.
Maharashtra, Telangana top the list
The report broke down the Indian states and cities with the biggest online gambling penetration and presence-the state of Maharashtra came out as the first location in India with the largest urban agglomeration, followed by Telangana.
Figures released by ENV Media showed Maharashtra leads by 17.4% in traffic generation, followed by Telangana with 9.9%. Both West Bengal and Karnataka also performed quite well with 9.3% of the share, while Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi have around 8% of the share. The figures were based on publicly available statistics for the April 1 (full lockdown) to September 15 period.
The report also points out that Maharashtra and Delhi are the states where teen patti real money is played most online per capita, along with other games like Andar Bahar and Rummy-the three "anchors of casual Indian entertainment." ENV Media research notes, "Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad lead the way. To a relative extent, Pune, Ahmedabad and Surat also contribute to a better online gambling penetration in India."
The ENV Media research comes amidst reports that the state government of Maharashtra is mulling the legalization of online gambling to help replenish the pandemic-depleted state coffers. The state's debt has crossed Rs 5.4 lakh crore as of September 2020, and the current year is looking to be much worse for Maharashtra's economy given the lockdown brought by COVID-19 pandemic since March.
Future of gambling in India
The gambling industry in India is largely operating in a grey landscape at the moment, governed by strict and archaic laws. Despite this, the gambling culture is thriving-largely driven by the country's mobile-first digital market.
A 2019 Deloitte report on India's digital media landscape noted how "the growth in internet users was seen both in rural and urban parts of India," adding, "With improved networks, better access to internet, multimedia service-capable mobile devices and application development ecosystem, more and more media consumption would happen on digital platforms. India has around 300,000 app developers and is already the second largest Android developer community in the world after the US."
It's also worth noting that India's market is dominated by young mobile users-the largest globally-and this is a factor in the country's drive towards gaming adoption and penetration. According to the ENV Media research report, "Thus, as long as potential players have a stable internet connection (mostly 4G in India's case), they are able to enjoy casino games, online betting and many pay-per-play types of games. And with computers not always a viable option for most, a smartphone remains the preferred device to access i-gaming platforms and Apps."