Smartphones are as much a source of entertainment today as they are for communication. While social media and entertainment apps dominate the time we spend on our phones, gaming is a large category and India is one of the world’s five largest markets. A form of gaming is rapidly gaining popularity due to increased clarity in regulations: The real money games of skill market is set for a rapid growth phase.
Many of us participate in real money gaming on a frequent basis within our social networks. Card games such as Poker, Rummy and others, and sports fantasy games involving pools are common in urban India. They are a source of gainful entertainment, allow us to build social connections and provide us the thrill of competition. But while in the physical world we are restricted by factors like player availability, location and infrastructure, the online world releases us of these constraints by use of technology and exposure to a much larger audience. Real money games of skill are legal in India and are becoming increasingly established in the online world. Dream11, the fantasy sports platform endorsed by M.S. Dhoni, became the first online gaming Unicorn from India, claiming over 50 million users and 90% of the market. But fantasy sport is only one category of skill-based gaming.
The business model is simple: The game winner pays a small commission or rake in from every bet placed. Some estimates suggest that real money gaming in India is currently a ₹2,000-crore market and is expected to more than triple to ₹6,500 crore by 2021. As the number of Indians with smartphone access continues to increase, one of the most penetrated offline markets of real money gaming will steadily move online. And, startups building the infrastructure will have a tremendous business opportunity.
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