Internet Gaming in India has surged over the past few years, with the country emerging as a favorite destination for sports betting and online casino companies. The Indian state of Goa has legalized both land-based and water-based casinos and the state of Sikkim offering bricks-and-mortar casinos and its own online gaming market, which may be what other states can look forward to. The first casino in Goa opened in 1999, and there are now 15, with five offshore in ships anchored on the Mandovi River. With an estimated 15,000 guests daily, Goa earns around INR1.35 billion (USD22m) in taxes from the business.
This expansion of online casinos in India has been possible thanks to the easier availability of games on the internet which have been taken up by India’s growing middle class. Valued at INR62 billion (USD831m) in 2019, online gaming is expected to grow around 400 percent to reach a value of INR250 billion (USD3.35bn) by 2030.
Gaming is not legal everywhere in India, with some states attempting to curb all sorts of gaming, but the increasing popularity of online casinos has led the country’s Law Commission to push for softer gaming regulations so that it is not only horse racing and lotteries that are legal. Whilst this has met with strong opposition, states are considering granting operating licenses to Indian operators in the hope of becoming part of the business as a way to obtain a share of the billions of tax and other revenue.
Whilst India has not historically been keen on gambling, competition between online casinos in the country is strong. With a wide choice of sites, it is worth looking at reviews on toponlinecasinos.in. The newer companies are focusing on grabbing a share of the younger market, using smart content and innovations, while the big names that are already established are sticking what has worked for them for years.
The number of people in India having access to mobile devices and internet connectivity has been growing at a faster rate than almost every other nation. It all started in 1995 when India’s first-ever mobile phone call was made between Kolkata and New Delhi. Now, 25 years later, India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market, due in part to its population of 1.3 billion people. In 2019, India became the second-largest smartphone market, surpassing the US, reaching 158 million shipments, trailing behind only China thanks to more affordable internet data.
More convenient payment systems
Due to the legalities of online casino gaming in India, banks have sometimes refused or been hesitant to process gambling transactions, making deposits on online casino sites in India problematic. Now, the use of international e-Wallets like Neteller and Skrill, and prepaid cards like AstroPay, which are now available on nearly all online casinos in the country, allow Indians to fund their casino accounts without needing to access their bank accounts.
The more recent launch of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) like PhonePe and Google Pay has made it even easier for money to be sent and received online, and thes are now included in some online casino options, opening the market to even more players than before.
Indian-targeted casino content
Online casinos are becoming focused on the Indian market. Most now accept INR, making payments even easier for players, with no loss through currency conversion and exchange rates. Some sites allow for browsing in Hindi, whilst others include popular Indian casino games like Andar Bahar and Teen Patti on their platforms alongside Blackjack and Baccarat tables, which are all available to play live.
Andar Bahar is also known as Maang Patta or Katti, depending on where you are in India. This game is traditionally played at festivals such as Holi and Diwali as well as family celebrations and is already established in some of the country’s land-based casinos and is easy to play. Simply, you bet on which side you think the match for a joker card will appear, either Andar (inside) or Bahar (outside). The first card is the joker (for example 9 Clubs), the cards are then dealt, alternately, onto the Andar and Bahar sides until a card is dealt of the same number as the joker (for example, 9 Hearts). There is a 50/50 chance of a win with bets offered from INR50 up to INR5,000 which means that big wins are possible. Some online sites offer real dealers, for a casino vibe even when playing at home or elsewhere.
Another popular Indian casino game that can be played for real money is Teen Patti. The objective of Teen Patti is to show a hand of three cards with a higher rank than those held by the other participants or to “bluff” through aggressive wagering and cause the competitors to fold. The best hand is three Aces, followed by a “trio” any other three-of-a-kind cards.
First, players place a minimum bet in the middle of the table to form a collection of money known as the “pot” and the cards are dealt. Players must then decide whether to play their hands “seen” or “blind”. Each player either folds or increases the bet until only one player remains or two players have a showdown when the hands are compared and the winner collects everything in the pot.