The plain truth is that nobody knows when a proper legal infrastructure will be established in India, although the various states within the country can’t fail to ignore the continuing surge in online sports betting. When a population of 1.4 billion people starts connecting to the internet in their droves, it’s little surprise that a growing number of operators are now accepting customers from various states.
Some states remain steadfast in their refusal to allow citizens to place sports bets online. In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, it is considered a malicious activity, and online gambling activities within these territories have been banned. The same applies to Karnataka although that doesn’t prevent customers in these regions from placing online bets like the rest of the country.
More Than Thirty Offshore Operators are Now in IndiaBefore the United States of America recently changed tack and the various states started to introduce legislation and hand out licenses, the legal situation was very clear. No offshore operator was able to accept customers from this country and there were exacting penalties for any bookmaker who tried to do so.
However, India does not have any geo-blocking in place, nor are there any recriminations for customers who sign up with offshore operators who accept Indian customers. Some significant UKGC-licensed brands are operating in this space including bet365, betway, Unibet, Parimatch, and LeoVegas.
It’s noticeable that these bookmakers are offering a welcome bonus to customers although these tend to be fairly modest offers compared to other countries. This applies both in the bonus amount and the percentage of an original deposit that can be leveraged in bonus bets.
Aside from these brands, several other lesser-known operators have dipped their toes in the water. These companies tend to be licensed in Malta, Cyprus, or Curacao and some are very specific when it comes to targeting customers in India. For example, Bollybet has a casino and sportsbook which is very much designed for users in this territory.
Indian Betting Sites Rolling Out Local Payment OptionsFor many Indian customers wanting to place bets with offshore operators, payment methods such as debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay aren’t viable options. This has been recognized by the majority of online bookmakers in this space and you can often see a huge variety of alternatives so that players in various states can fund their accounts within a short space of time.
One bookmaker in this space told CricketBetIndia.com that UPI, Indian Net Banking, and AstroPay are the most popular banking options for customers. Unified Payments Interface is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and they provide a payment ecosystem that houses the likes of PhonePe and Google Pay.
Indian Gambling Sponsorship On the RiseThe Indian online betting market is estimated to be around Rs 6,000 crore and it’s only going in one direction. We’ll likely see a growing number of operators dip their toe into the market and many are now forming sponsorship deals to ensure that they are well-placed in the event of state-by-state legislation being rolled out.
Parimatch and Dafabet have been active on this front, with meaningful partnerships being formed across different sports franchises. The former’s sports news site has a deal in place with Chelsea Football Club and has also taken a localized approach by teaming up with Kabbadi League franchise Tamil Thalaivas.
The unregulated Indian online betting market is only going one way and conservative estimates project a 27% annual growth, with state officials potentially looking at the US landscape and entertaining the idea of some form of regulation. There would be enormous benefits from a taxation perspective, with safeguarding at the heart of these future measures.
Contributors – Simon Collins/Matthew Glazer/Martin McGarry