Asian MNCs such as Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group and SoftBank Group have their eyes on the Indian gambling market. The firms are investing millions of dollars in Indian apps that use loopholes in the country’s anti-gambling laws. These games go on to offer bettors cash prizes, vacations to Macau and even new iPhones.
Catching Up With Competition
About 300 million players use apps such as Dream11, Play Games24x7, Paytm First Games and FanFight to gamble on fantasy cricket and card games like rummy. With industry sales forecast to reach about $3.3 billion by 2024, Mukesh Ambani recently expressed how online gaming and gambling will surpass revenues of music, movies and TV shows combined.
“India is sweetly positioned to exponentially grow the gaming industry. The online platform has a very strong outlook considering India has the world’s largest youth population and the second-largest internet penetration,” Vishal Seth, a managing director overseeing mergers and acquisitions for Protiviti India, said.
While e-commerce and video streaming are gaining in popularity, online gaming is a better business proposition. This is because individual transactions are immediately profitable. Moreover, operators do not have to invest much in building up logistics, inventory or content.
Rise In Indian Online Gaming, Gambling
Indians who play for for cash and prizes online are driving this boom; they prefer such activities as opposed to watching movies or playing games that do not offer any rewards.
More than a third of India’s 1.3 billion people are internet users. Most of them access the internet via budget smartphones with cheap data plans. Before the coronavirus outbreak crushed the global economy, the local smartphone market was growing at a 10% rate.
“As much as 90% of gaming in India happens on phones,” said Girish Menon, head of media and entertainment for KPMG.
“That is attractive to Alibaba and Tencent because their entire ecosystem is developed around mobile phones. The time spent on gaming is far higher than any other form of entertainment,” he said.