India is very complex in terms of player demographics, but according to Jashwant Patel, sales manager at Slotegrator, the market is a ‘golden well of opportunity’ due to its large population, rates of internet penetration and growing appetite for online gaming.

Speaking to CasinoBeats, Patel touched upon the ways Slotegrator is navigating the country’s intricate regulatory framework before highlighting the company’s upcoming webinar which will focus on helping companies looking to build a sustainable business in the sub-continent.

CasinoBeats: What is it that initially attracted you to the Indian market?   

Jashwant Patel: That’s a really good question! We are always guided by our mission to blaze trails and discover new opportunities. 

There are a few reasons you can call India a golden well of opportunity: the size of its population, the diversity of its target audience, advances in technology, a growing middle class, and a fast-growing economy. So in simple words, there is something for everyone. You just have to go with the right strategy. 

More than 750 million people — which is over 70 per cent of the population — have access to gaming devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers. Internet or mobile data access is also not an issue, with almost 700 million — and growing — internet users. More than 50 per cent of the target audience fall within the age bracket of 20-45, making it a very young market to tap into. 

India is also one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, meaning an increasing number of people have disposable income for entertainment. These figures speak volumes, especially for the online gaming industry.

CasinoBeats: In Slotegrator’s experience, what is the key to success in the Indian market?

JP: The key to success in any market is to have the facts right. Good research, the right mindset, a robust business plan, sufficient investment and — most important of all — patience can build the foundation a casino needs. 

India is very complex in terms of player demographics. Player type, age, gender, and financial situation all vary, so to succeed in the Indian market you have to find a niche and cater to the right target audience. Clientele in the Indian subcontinent can be very demanding and thrifty. 

We as a team are always looking for ways to improve our service and offerings. From research to regular communications with clients of all levels, we are learning every day. One thing that sets us apart is that we really listen to our prospects and customers and pinpoint their specific needs. 

CasinoBeats: India has previously been described as quite a lucrative market, but it comes with its own set of regulatory challenges. How has Slotegrator overcome these challenges? 

JP: The Indian market is indeed a lucrative one, but it has some hurdles to jump before it can grow to its full potential. These stem from the fact that gambling is often looked upon as a taboo or social ill even though it’s been part of Indian culture since ancient times. 

Slotegrator’s mission is to facilitate the business growth of our clients and partners. As a renowned brand in the igaming industry, every day we are working towards this mission by keeping up with current regulations, adapting our offerings, and liaising with our partners. 

Online gambling laws are still unclear — a fact that many offshore operators take advantage of. Having said that, setting up shop in India is not necessarily a walk in the park. However, our in-depth knowledge and network have helped us grow in this market, and we are committed to helping our partners operate legitimately and transparently while complying with regulations. 

While the regulatory landscape can be difficult to navigate, our jurisdictional services are more than up to the task.

CasinoBeats: What content would you say is most popular among players? And does this vary across different regions?

JP: That’s a very good question. Of course, from an operator’s point of view, having a variety of quality gaming content for players to choose from is always a good idea. 

Sports betting, fantasy sports, and live dealer/table games tend to be the most popular among players in India. The choice of content is a bit different compared to players across the globe. The most popular games among Indian players are Andar Bahar and Teen Patti. Indian Rummy is another local classic. 

These local favourites are a bit hard to find on offshore casinos, but having them for the Indian market is vital — and if online casinos can provide them through an authentic casino experience with real professional dealers in a luxurious studio setting, then all the better.

Casino classics like baccarat, roulette, and blackjack, while less popular, are still in demand — in particular roulette, given its simple rules and exciting nature. Players also turn to slot games when they’re looking for colourful features and the chance of a big jackpot. 

Far and away, the subcontinent’s most popular game is poker. However, the game’s regulatory status as a game of skill or chance remains unclear, and varies across the country. 

In addition to region of operation, age and other demographic considerations are key factors in choosing the right content. Last but not the least, marketing strategies play a crucial role in any business’s success, and igaming is no different — casinos that find the right way to reach their players dramatically increase their chances of success.

CasinoBeats: How can operators ensure that they are best meeting the needs of players across India?

JP: India is considered to have strict regulations when it comes to real money gaming and casinos. Due to blanket bans in some states like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, players are not always able to access some brands or projects. However, India still has great potential in the online gambling industry, especially considering the rate at which technology is advancing.

There are a few things operators have to take care of to increase their odds of acquiring and retaining players. 

It’s important to offer a better online experience. By that I mean fast and easy onboarding, excellent UI and UX, and a lack of annoyances and distractions like unwanted sound effects.

Strong cyber security is one of the biggest priorities for the online casino industry. After all, players are trusting the platform with their personal and financial details and playing with their hard-earned money; they want to feel assured that both their money and their information is safe.

Having a licensed platform builds players’ trust and contributes to improving the industry’s overall reputation. 

As I mentioned earlier, a good variety of quality gaming content is always recommended. It gives users more options to choose from and stops them from getting bored and leaving. 

In keeping with the worldwide trend, operators should adapt to Indian players’ preference for mobile capability. It’s essential that players can easily use their mobile device to have a great experience no matter where they are. 

It’s critical to appeal to different audiences. Online gambling is available to players of a wide range of locations, genders, ages, social classes, etc. Anyone with money and a device can play. Matching players with the content they’re looking for is one of the keys to online casino success, but marketing is extra tricky when regulations are murky. However, new technologies and marketing strategies can help Indian players find the local and international brands they’re looking for. 

CasinoBeats: What does the future hold for the Indian betting market? Could we see the introduction of a central regulator or centralised gambling legislation?

JP: Wow, now that’s something we all want to know, isn’t it?  Land-based casinos are only allowed in some states, and only for certain types of games. Online gambling regulations are often confusing, but allow players to visit sites run by reputable offshore operators with a license from a well-established jurisdiction.

Indian authorities still consider these offshore companies unregulated, but one would think their profits would encourage the Indian government to consider updating its online gambling laws. India loses around $150m annually to untaxed offshore operators, and this lack of regulation also makes it hard to evaluate the true potential of the Indian market. 

In my personal opinion, centralised gambling legislation or some sort of centralised guidelines for the states would be the best way to move forward, not just to boost tax revenue but to help the economy and create jobs. In my opinion, the Indian government should fully embrace the gambling industry rather than fighting it.

CasinoBeats: And finally, can you tell us about your upcoming webinar on the Indian market — maybe give a brief overview of topics and why people should attend?

JP: Oh yes! At Slotegrator, we are always looking for ways to educate new and growing businesses. After the success of the previous webinar, we are now working on a second one covering the Indian market. The topics will focus more on understanding various different aspects of the business. 

Anyone who wants to expand or open a new business — especially if they want to learn how to make that business sustainable in the long run — will definitely get a lot out of it. There are a lot of different elements which need to be covered to make it a viable business, and we’re going to dive into as much detail as possible.