We have recently contacted three of the largest gambling sites on their opinion of the Indian market for three major verticals. These sites include PokerStars, Bet365 and Bodog. This was an attempt to test the waters to see where gambling sites viewed India. This was their response.
1. Upon contacting the marketing manager of PokerStars, Ryan H. (firstname.lastname@example.org) his following statement was as follows:
Bettingsites.co.in Raj – Does pokerstars have rupees, or any plans to add rupees to develop India?
PokerStars Ryan – We have no plans as far as I know. We are looking at developing our business in India along with other Asian markets but I don’t think much will happen in the foreseeable future.
Review: From other questions asked which I have chosen not to report on, PokerStars does not see significant value or registrations to PokerStars from India. They have chosen to focus on other emerging markets. Players will not see a supporting cashier, but possibly some promotions for existing players as they keep an eye on their Indian players.
2. Our second interview was that of Bet365. Despite being the mostly used bookmaker in India because of their large cricket exposure and half way decent cashier system for India (including rupees), they too are not looking to expand into India. Here was their response.
BettingSites.co.in Raj – Why doesn’t Bet365 really do much in the Indian market when it comes to advertising, promotions or licenses to operate. I was under the impression that Bet365 was one of the 11 Letters of Intent to operate within India borders.
Bet365 Hannah – One of the biggest obstacles faced by sports bettors in India is the fact that depositing to foreign bookies is extremely difficult. Typically, the majority of users deposit to online bookies using Moneybookers or Neteller. Some attempts to deposit using a Visa or Mastercard may fail. The same is true of online bank transfers. In order to circumvent these blocks, savvy internet users have started to use ewallet services for depositing. These services add a middle layer to disguise the nature of transactions, enabling users to get around the blocks by first depositing to an ewallet and then using that ewallet to fund an online betting account in Rupees. This is important because it circumvents legal issues that may have arisen about Foreign Exchange law.
As a consequence we usually see 100+ sign ups with only 2 depositors with Indian traffic. Plus the players are extremely low value.
For these reasons there’s no immediate push in India until something changes on the banking front.
3. Our third interview was with Bodog’s Asian team. They have been actively seeking market share in Asia and are a huge leader in the “Grey” markets such as the United States. We can not publish the interview word for word so I will paraphrase.
Bodog Asia: They are seeking other opportunities within Asia. Calvin Ayre has hinted within his media site, CalvinAyre.com about the India market calling it a “cha ching” market if someone figures it out. While there is not much to “figure out”, it appears that Bodog might be using this as a diversionary tactic as they head towards the high value bettors in other Asian markets. We here at BettingSites truly do not see why Bodog has not yet opened up an Indian specific sportsbook.
Conclusion: The market of India does have a betting market, but as with many other countries the ‘grey’ laws, obstructive banking system towards depositing into betting sites and the overall perception of many Indian officials towards betting in India is leading to a null period. The market continues to push scandals as the reason to make betting legal in India, in which we would then expect to see banks lighten up on gambling and it to become more easily accessed, this does not look like it will happen in the next 5 years.