India’s online gaming industry hasn’t grown as much as it should have in the last 15 years and that is mostly because gaming legislation has made it difficult for operators and players to enjoy an online gaming experience.
However, in recent years things have changed considerably as online gaming is now legal in a couple of states and more states are considering lifting the ban. The online gambling industry is now estimated to be around 1000 crore rupees and is expected to grow at a fast pace in the coming years.
One of the emerging niches in the online gaming are online Real Money Games (RMG) which cover a wide spectrum of games including poker, rummy, daily fantasy sports and even online quizzes.
How RMG Works
RMG uses a subscription-based model where companies act as online aggregators, with customers paying a fixed fee to play their favorite games on the companies’ online platform. Transactions are done strictly in rupees using credit or debit cards and they are very popular with millennials in India.
The ability to sit from the comfort of one’s home and play these RMG games and win real money has boosted their popularity significantly.
Annual Revenues Growing at 30%
The RMG market has grown considerably in the last few years, with domestic operators reporting revenue growth of around 30 percent on a yearly basis.
Take as an example. This is the number one poker platform in the country which has recorded revenues of Rs 105 crore for the 2017-18 financial year, 30 percent higher than the previous period. The significant growth in revenue enabled founders Mohit Agarwal and Anuj Gupta to seed-fund a new live gaming edutech platform called iChamp. Being the first of its kind in India, iChamp teaches mathematical concepts via games, quizzes and other online activities and helps boost the RMG business indirectly.
Most of the RMG market in India is controlled by 3 to 4 major companies who fiercely compete with each other for market share. Some of the top companies in the RMG sector include fantasy sports platform Dream11, and rummy sites Ace2Three and RummyCircle. The number of RMG users is seeing close to a 50 percent increase every year.
As the RMG market continues to grow, companies are keen on trying out new games that would keep players coming back for more. One of the areas that companies are now looking at is the daily fantasy sports market. Companies are looking to create DFS games covering a number of popular international sports including cricket, car racing, pool, billiards, bridge as well as domestic sports in the country.
Online Gaming Rules
No clear-cut guidelines have been put forward yet that are specific to the online gaming sector. States grant licenses according to the Games of Skill rules under the Public Gaming Act. A self-regulation mechanism that’s ethic based is currently being worked on, initiated by the All India Gaming Federation, the body responsible for regulating online gaming in the country.
Nagaland is currently the only Indian state to introduce exclusive licensing standards for online games. However, multiple states are seriously looking at online gambling legislation as they realize that state coffers have much to gain by legalizing the industry and collecting both licensing fees and gaming taxes.
Companies Focus on Marketing
Initial investments in the RMG market usually go to software infrastructure and online hosting, but at the moment, companies are also allocating huge amounts of money for marketing and advertising, as well as incentivizing customers.
One way of boosting their brand in the market is to get celebrities to endorse their games. Dream11 hired popular sports commentator Harsha Bhogle as its brand ambassador in 2017 and went on to bring on MS Dhoni who is the former captain of the Indian cricket team. Adda52 also recently signed in West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle as its brand ambassador.
Mobile Gaming Apps Gaining Popularity
According to an Indian business magazine, the top three app categories that Indian mobile users install on their devices are news, social media and gaming. Installations of news apps i

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