- 1 Selection of Target Audience for Gambling Offerings in India
- 2 Why Do Indians Enjoy Online Gambling?
- 3 Cultural Sensitivities and Public Perceptions of Gambling in India
- 4 Gambling as Status Symbol
- 5 Segmenting Indian Gamblers
- 6 What is Segmentation?
- 7 Why Segmentation of Audience for Gambling Offers is Important?
- 8 Macro Factors Affecting Gambling Trends
- 9 Legal Aspect
- 10 Technological Innovation
- 11 Income of Indians
- 12 Political Background
- 13 Closing Thoughts
Selection of Target Audience for Gambling Offerings in India
As a gambling affiliate, your first priority should be to focus on selecting a target audience for the gambling product. And that involves finding answers to several questions. What is the average age of a gambler? In which region is gambling most in demand? How involved are women in gambling? Are there any legal restrictions on gambling products and promotional materials for online gambling? When working with a casino affiliate program, you must get to know your target audience better and build a profile of an average gambling enthusiast that could become a paying customer at the online gambling platform you are promoting. And if you have chosen India as your main GEO for finding traffic, you won’t be wrong, because the iGaming industry in this country is booming right now.
For many years, India was considered a weak economy. Ordinary citizens of India had limited access to technology that has long been taken for granted by Europeans and Americans. However, times are changing and high-speed internet has come to almost every Indian home. Moreover, most Indians have smartphones or tablets, so they can gamble right on the move. Recent statistics show that about 40% of adult internet users in India are involved in gambling to some extent. And to find out how gambling works in India and how to promote gambling products in this region, you need to know many different things including Indian culture, demographics, available technological innovations, and the current regulatory framework regarding online gambling.
Why Do Indians Enjoy Online Gambling?
So, today, India is one of the largest online gambling markets, and at the same time, a desirable destination for gambling and betting affiliates. However, before we start exploring the reasons behind the popularity of online betting and gambling in India, it is worth talking about the land-based gambling market. Gambling laws regarding the regulation of land-based establishments vary from state to state. This means that not every Indian gambling enthusiast can go to a B&M venue to enjoy their favourite games. As of today, there are only three states where land-based casinos operate legally. Meanwhile, online gambling is available everywhere except in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The basic law regulating the gambling market in India dates back to 1867 and is still in force, with a few changes.
Thanks to the development of internet technology in India, many local players know well what is online gambling and how to gamble on the go. Despite the best efforts of local lawmakers, the country is still dominated by so-called offshore gambling websites owned and operated by operators registered in Malta, the Isle of Man, and Curacao. In fact, these casinos operate in a grey area, as India has yet to establish a unified legal framework to regulate gambling. But casinos licensed by Curacao eGaming or MGA are actually legal in terms of international law, so most Indians have no barriers to playing slots or roulette online.
Cultural Sensitivities and Public Perceptions of Gambling in India
Before you start selecting an audience for the gambling product you are promoting, you need to find out how Indians think about gambling. To begin with, the history of gambling in India dates back to around 7300 BC. Even back then, Indians played table games similar to dice and modern chess. Another milestone in the history of Indian gambling was the famous game of Shakuni during which he bet and lost his state, savings, family and himself.
It is interesting to know that some gambling games – the invention of which is usually attributed to Europeans – include Indian symbols. Historical evidence shows that Indians have been gambling for a long time and by the 15th century A.D. there were several legal gambling houses in the country. Although European influence has taken over with time, there are many gambling games invented by Indians. For instance, in many Indian online casinos, games like Teen Patti, Adan Baja and others are still in high demand.
So, considering the rich centuries-old history of gambling, it is an integral part of Indian culture. Modern Indian gamblers see online casinos as a great way to have fun, distract themselves from everyday routine and win something worthwhile. With about 80% of the population gambling at least once a year, the public perception of gambling is generally positive, which also contributes to a large number of gambling offers in India.
Gambling as Status Symbol
So, Indian society actually neither condemns nor approves of gambling. This neutral and often even positive attitude towards gambling makes India a great source of an audience for gambling affiliates. To understand better what drives Indian gamblers to play online casino games, it would not be out of place to learn about some of the passions of Aamir Khan, the Bollywood star. Apart from his many roles in successful Indian movies, Aamir is also a poker enthusiast. He often hosts poker parties right at his home. Another source of inspiration for Indian gamblers was the 2010 film, Teen Patti. The plot of the film is a lot like the story of the MIT team who used to beat the land-based casinos in Las Vegas from the 1980s to the 21st century. Adapted for Indian viewers, this movie essentially encourages Indians to play the popular card game.
As far as Indian youth are concerned, online gambling has become something of a status symbol for most. Although those from wealthy families prefer to play in land-based casinos, they are not squeamish about online gambling either. Participating in major poker tournaments with their large pots can be seen as a way of self-assertion and standing out from the crowd. As Western culture permeates the country, the image of a poker star becomes more and more important and appealing to many. So, the thirst for money and fame is also a strong motivating force behind many Indian gamblers registering at online casinos and playing for real money.
Segmenting Indian Gamblers
To succeed with such a promising GEO as India, gambling affiliates not only need to know their audience well but also segment it properly with different involvement patterns in mind. Below we discuss what audience segmentation is and how to apply it to Indian gambling enthusiasts.
What is Segmentation?
The primary task of the affiliate marketer is to deliver a personalized message to the target audience. To this end, it is necessary to break down the audience into subgroups, which is essentially a segmentation of the audience for gambling offers. Such sub-groups can be based on various criteria, including gender, age, education level, income and others.
Why Segmentation of Audience for Gambling Offers is Important?
By collecting data when segmenting your target audience, you will be able to create more effective marketing campaigns and promote gambling offers in India. Since most of today’s internet users perceive advertising neutrally or even negatively, you need a more personalized approach to gain favour with potential users of the product you are promoting. By segmenting your audience, you will categorize them into subgroups based on their interests, gambling budget, education level, etc. So, it doesn’t make sense to offer high roller promotions to the poor. On the other hand, it is hardly worth luring with no deposit bonuses for those who have almost unlimited gambling budgets. By segmenting the audience of Indian gambling enthusiasts, you will be able to target messages that will hit the mark. Ultimately, this will have a positive effect on the number of clicks on your affiliate link and your earnings as well.
Macro Factors Affecting Gambling Trends
Generally speaking, there are many factors contributing to the growth of online gambling and the online betting industry in India. The creation of a legal framework to regulate gambling, rising income levels of citizens, adoption by politicians and technological innovations are all affecting the gambling market in one way or the other. Below we look at a few of the main macro factors that are driving – or conversely slowing down – the gambling trends in India.
As mentioned above, most of the iGaming platforms serving the Indian gambling market are offshore. The main reason for this is that India is still a grey area for online gambling. In 2018, the Law Commission of India took a big step towards legalizing online gambling by making recommendations to Indian lawmakers. According to the LCI, legalization will generate much-needed funds for the state budget. At the moment, Indian players from most states are free to gamble online without worrying about the possible consequences, which opens up many opportunities for both casino operators and gambling affiliates with the latter making money by directing traffic to gambling products.
As a highly competitive environment, the online gambling industry is always at the forefront of technological innovation. Improved data encryption algorithms, fast and convenient online financial transactions and mobile compatibility are all about online casinos. In the past few years, India has taken a big technological leap and has now largely caught up with Western nations in terms of high technology diffusion. Therefore, there are no more barriers – such as the lack of an Internet connection or a home PC – to Indians enjoying online gambling.
Income of Indians
The financial component also plays an important role, as there is no point in targeting an audience which is largely made up of poor people. The economic reforms initiated in the 1990s in India have been very effective and the country now ranks in the top 10 in terms of GDP. Although the collapse of IL & FS and the subsequent pandemic has led to a drop in the income levels of citizens, there are still many solvent gambling and betting enthusiasts among Indians investing some of their earnings in gambling entertainment.
Given the uncertainty surrounding gambling regulation in India, policymakers’ views on the iGaming industry remain mixed. While some see legalization as the only right way out, others advocate a ban on both offshore websites and internet gambling in general. Thanks to the decentralization of power in India, it is up to each state to decide on the legal status of gambling. But the problem is that politicians in one state are often influenced by the political views of other administrative units, especially if they belong to the same party. However, the number of those who see the economic benefits of legalization is growing.
Despite its centuries-old gambling tradition, India remains a challenging GEO with both supporters and detractors of real-money gambling. As a gambling affiliate that takes a responsible approach to explore a new market, you must consider all the specifics including cultural sensitivities, the legal status of gambling, factors behind the growth of the industry and a host of other things. Finally, by knowing your audience (e.g., the average gambler in India) and how to segment it properly, you can achieve meaningful results with a very promising GEO India.