According to Maple Capital Advisors, investment in the online gambling industry in India rose sharply in the last six months.
India.- Maple Capital Advisors’ report “Indian Gaming – At an inflexion point” analyses the growth of the online gambling sector in India during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Covering the period between August 2020 and January 2021, it reveals that investments in the online gambling sector passed US$500m in the period, exceeding what was invested in the previous five years. The analysts expect investment to double in the next 12 to 18 months,
According to analysts, India, which has over 15 per cent of global gaming traffic, is strongly positioned as a gaming market and is increasingly of interest to global majors.
The report revealed consumer awareness and engagement rose during the period, with 47 per cent of internet users spending time using gaming apps and 50 per cent of smartphone users playing mobile games.
Salone Sehgal, managing director of Lumikai, said: “Having tracked the Indian gaming market for the last decade, I have never seen gaming usage, consumption, monetisation and infrastructure converge in the manner it has in 2020.
“Nearly US$700M have been invested in the domestic gaming industry over the last 3 years.”
Between January and March 2020, when lockdown measures were imposed, visits to online gaming websites or apps rose by 24 per cent, and last March, the online sector saw a 41 per cent increase in time spent.
At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, between April and June 2020, companies saw daily downloads increase five times and traffic surge of 44 per cent.
Online gambling industry attached to regulations
Over 745 million users play online real money games in India. However, there are different approaches regarding online gambling, depending on the individual states.
In Tamil Nadu, poker and rummy are considered games of chance and are hence prohibited. Other jurisdictions such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha, have already banned real money card games.
The state of Uttar Pradesh is considering introducing penalties for online gambling and increasing those for gambling in public places.
Meanwhile, the state of Sikkim is the first state with regulated online gambling thanks to the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules.
Meghalaya is also considering licensing all gaming activities, while Karnataka may soon revise its law to regulate online gaming.
Due to this situation, the Maple Capital Advisors report notes that keeping up with such diverse laws is a challenge for gaming companies, making it difficult for the sector to abide by uniform standards.