For online casino operators, it makes sense to operate in a large market like India. Doing so gives them access to a population that is currently over 1.38 billion people and continues to grow quickly. It’s not only the size of the population that’s important either. The people of India have access to technology as a result of expanding infrastructure.
As an example of this, there are expected to be more than 1.5 billion smartphone users in India by 2040. The more this access to technology expands, the more potential customers there are for online casinos. And there is already potential from these customers as the Indian online gambling market is said to be worth around $60 billion a year.
However, the situation is not quite that simple, as operators have to consider the legal situation regarding online casinos in India.
What is the legal position regarding online casinos in India?
Over the years, there have been laws in India that have prohibited land-based gambling activities, such as The Public Gaming Act of 1867. Understandably this regulation does not relate to online casinos and sportsbooks.
Legislation in this area has become something of a state issue in the country, with states like SK, NL, and ML legalising online gambling and others like GJ, TG, AP, DL, and OR prohibiting it. In other parts of the country, there is no specific legalisation that permits or forbids the act of gambling online.
That being said, online casino operators are not permitted to promote their activities on websites or on TV or OTT channels. Given all of these restrictions, operating an online casino from within India is problematic, but this does not stop providers from creating or expanding offshore casinos and sportsbooks that target Indian players.
The legal situation for offshore sites targeting India
When you look at the legality of online casinos targeting India, you can clearly see that offering services from an offshore operation is completely legitimate. These offshore operations are licensed by authorities such as the Malta Gaming Authority (or MGA) and the Curacao Gaming Control Board (or GCB). These authorities ensure that casinos operate fairly and securely.
So, it’s certainly possible to open an online casino that targets an Indian audience, and given the size of the potential market in the country, it makes sense to do so. For any operators looking to do this, it’s interesting to note that there is currently pressure on the authorities in India to regulate online gambling. This has been an ongoing situation for several years now and is not likely to be resolved imminently.
However, if regulation does happen in the future, it could make it easier to operate an online casino in India, or it could go the other way and make it more difficult. Only time will tell what happens, but right now, offshore operators are making the most of the opportunity to provide online casino services to an Indian audience.