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How Offshore Operators Appeal to Indian Betting Customers

While Indian online remains a grey area, offshore operators are using creative ways to appeal to customers in this territory. In this article, we look at the native and international approaches that are reaping dividends ahead of potential legalisation.

The plain truth is that nobody knows when a proper legal infrastructure will be established in India, although the various states within the country can’t fail to ignore the continuing surge in online sports betting. When a population of 1.4 billion people start connecting to the internet in their droves, it’s little surprise that a growing number of operators are now accepting customers from the various states.

Some states remain steadfast in their refusal to allow citizens to place sports bets online. In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, it is considered as a malicious activity and online gambling activities within these territories have been banned. The same applies to Karnataka although that doesn’t prevent customers in these regions from placing online bets like the rest of the country.

More Than Thirty Offshore Operators Now in India

Before the United States of America recently changed tack and the various states started to introduce legislation and hand out licences, the legal situation was very clear. No offshore operator was able to accept customers from this country and there were exacting penalties for any bookmaker who tried to do so.

However, India does not have any geo-blocking in place, nor is there any recriminations for customers who sign up with the offshore operators who accept Indian customers. There are some significant UKGC-licensed brands operating in this space including bet365, betway, Unibet, Parimatch, and LeoVegas.

It’s noticeable that these bookmakers are offering a welcome bonus to customers although these tend to be fairly modest offers compared to other countries. This applies both in the bonus amount and the percentage of an original deposit that can be leveraged in bonus bets.

Aside from these brands, there are several other lesser-known operators who have dipped their toe in the water. These companies tend to be licensed in Malta, Cyprus or Curacao and some are very specific when it comes to targeting customers in India. For example, Bollybet has a casino and sportsbook which is very much designed for users in this territory.

Indian Betting Sites Rolling Out Local Payment Options

For many Indian customers wanting to place bets with offshore operators, payment methods such as debit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay aren’t viable options. This has been recognised by the majority of online bookmakers in this space and you can often see a huge variety of alternatives so that players in various states are able to fund their accounts within a short space of time.

One bookmaker in this space told that UPI, Indian Net Banking, and AstroPay are the most popular banking options for customers. Unified Payments Interface is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India and they provide a payment ecosystem which houses the likes of PhonePe and Google Pay.

Indian Gambling Sponsorship On the Rise

The Indian online betting market is estimated to be around Rs 6,000 crore and it’s only going in one direction. It’s likely that we’ll see a growing number of operators dip their toe into the market and many are now forming sponsorship deals to ensure that they are well-placed in the event of state-by-state legislation being rolled out.

Parimatch and Dafabet have been active on this front, with meaningful partnerships being formed across different sports franchises. The former’s sports news site has a deal in place with Chelsea Football Club and has also taken a localised approach by teaming up with Kabbadi League franchise Tamil Thalaivas.

The unregulated Indian online betting market is only going one way and conservative estimates project a 27% annual growth, with state officials potentially looking at the US landscape and entertaining the idea of some form of regulation. There would be enormous benefits from a taxation perspective, with safeguarding at the heart of these future measures.

Contributors – Simon Collins/Matthew Glazer/Martin McGarry

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