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Young Indians And Gambling

How casinos are capturing the heart of young Indians

Akil Khan
by Akil Khan
March 1, 2024

Casino games, poker and sports betting are becoming popular among Indian gamblers, with the ever-evolving digital landscape and higher penetration of the internet and mobile devices causing revolutionary change. 

Statista reports that in 2024, India's online gambling market will hit $2.9 billion, driven by the increase in smartphones, with everything from slots and table games to rummy and Teen Patti available to play on mobile.

Today, India has over 900 million internet users, 40% of whom have gambled on online gambling platforms at least once. So, not only are brick-and-mortar casinos in states such as Goa, Sikkim, and Daman booming, but regulated online casinos are also fast becoming popular. 

Fantasy sports are thriving, with millions of young Indian players signing up to sites such as Parimatch and Dream11 to play cricket, hockey, football and kabaddi, among other popular sports. Learn more about casinos' impact on Indian youth in recent years and why people are shifting more towards this billion-dollar sector after the pandemic.

How are casinos impacting youth in India?

Interactive platforms, innovative slot games, glitzy live casinos, generous welcome bonuses and VIP rewards are the major attractions of online casinos. Even member rewards at offline casinos can't compete with some of the promotions offered at online alternatives, with bonuses of up to INR 150,000 and bets as low as INR 10 available. 

The advancement of mobile technology and fast internet, such as 4G LTE and now 5G internet services in India, has also contributed to the rise in gambling among Indian youth. In fact, phone users comprise 85% of the industry, compared to 11% from computer users and 4% using tablets. Greater accessibility means most young Indians can download casino apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and play their favourite games directly from their device.

Moreover, the availability of mobile wallets and internet banking has made things easier. Indians can use various banking options to fund their gameplay, including UPI, GPay, debit or credit cards, Net Banking, Apple Pay and e-wallets. According to reports, more than 10 billion UPI transactions were conducted during August 2023 alone, meaning more than INR 15 lakh crore transactions took place that month. 

All of the above has paved the way for youngsters to bet on casino games. Though games of chance are illegal in the country, games of skill are legal in several Indian states. You can choose to play any game, but winnings will face a tax of 28%.

Young Indians are attracted to gambling for entertainment and the chance to win real money. India has the largest population of young people globally, with 600 million people aged 25 and below, which has led corporations to invest heavily in the Indian gambling industry. A recent report revealed that 75% of online casino visitors in India are between the ages of 18 and 34 – evidence that the allure of the casino world is rapidly engulfing the Indian youth.

How are casinos impacting youth in India?

What kind of online casino games are Indian youths mainly inclined towards?

Youth-centric pocket money apps continue to rise year-on-year, with approximately 350 million teenagers and young adults signing up for these during 2023. As access to modern financial solutions increases, the use of pocket money apps is expected to accelerate. 

Roughly 83% of online gambling revenue comes from real money games, with mobile gamers accounting for 94% of total gamers. An EY report forecasts the mobile gaming segment to grow at a CAGR of 25%, owing to the broader adoption of 5G and money generated from in-app purchases.

Many Indian youths use these apps to fund their casino dreams, with card games such as poker, Teen Patti and rummy showing a 50-100% growth rate year-on-year. According to Statista, the online Indian rummy market alone is estimated to reach $1.4 billion by 2024, from $335 million in 2019. Here are the most popular casino games with Indian youths:

  • Online slots: The charming graphics and simple gameplay of slot games make them a hit with young Indians. They can bet with amounts as low as INR 10 and use casino bonuses to boost their bankroll. The most played slot games are Gates of Olympus, Book of Dead, Sweet Bonanza, 3 Hot Chillies and Cricket Crash.

  • Poker games: Poker is mainly played during festive occasions and parties. Texas Hold 'em is a firm favourite, wherein players must make their best five-card poker hand with the cards dealt. Many young players also enjoy live dealer poker games for the immersive feel.

  • Andar Bahar: The aim of Andar Bahar is to guess whether the 'trump' card that must be matched will appear in the Andar or Bahar pile to win. The appearance of matching values in this game is 50/50, as even or odd numbers can appear. Many players place side or dealer bets to try and boost their payout.

  • Teen Patti: A 3 to 7-player game where players receive face-down cards. You can gamble with or without seeing the pack of cards, as the focus is to get the highest hand or the best combo – Ace, King, and Queen. 

  • Rummy: This game of skill is legal in Indian casinos. The player must arrange 13 cards into two sets of identical ranks and sequences of the same suit. You must create at least one pure sequence (a hand of three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order) to win.

What kind of online casino games are Indian youths mainly inclined towards?

How do celebrities and sportspersons encourage casino betting?

Many youngsters are fans of sportspersons such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Shahid Kapoor, who are often seen endorsing products on television or social media platforms. For instance, online betting sites SkyExch.net and Khiladi promote the Legends Cricket tournament in Doha, , and Shahid Kapoor is the brand ambassador of the Khiladi betting exchange platform. 

Many internationally renowned betting platforms, including Betway, Dafabet, Bet365 and Parimatch, are also endorsed by Bollywood celebrities. You can find stars such as Ranbir Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Jacqueline Fernandez and Varun Dhawan promoting these brands and influencing young people to sign up. 

Celebrities and sports star-endorsed e-gaming platforms are a massive business in India, with Dentsu Gaming research estimating there will be 700 million gamblers in India by 2025. However, experts advise that celebrities and sportspersons should give statutory warnings against misleading online gambling and playing responsibly to help reduce gambling addiction by 50%. 

Youngsters who are attracted to online gambling can also help by becoming responsible influencers and teaching other young people about casino legalisation and any of the disadvantages.

Does the casino industry in India use influencer marketing to attract youth?

India's influencer marketing industry is growing at a CAGR of 25% and is estimated to reach INR 28 billion by 2026. Almost 55 million Indians are affected by influencers or their consumers, especially the Indian youth, who often refer to influencer reviews. Dentsu India released a report revealing that 70% of Indians buy a product endorsed by an influencer, with consumer-based companies, such as FMCG and entertainment industries, leveraging the power of influencer marketing. 

The same goes for casino gambling and sports betting in India. These social media influencers provide updates on betting odds, gameplay, teams, statistics and other aspects of sports betting and gambling. Case studies show that collaborations between sports betting platforms and Indian influencers, such as Sahil Khan, Hardik Pandya and Kusha Kapila Ranvijay Singha have boosted brand visibility and helped engage audiences.

Is sports betting becoming popular among Indian youngsters? 

Sports betting in India is increasing widely in urban and rural towns, driven by the rising availability of internet access and smartphone ownership. Young people are more likely to take risks, which has led to a growth in sign-ups for sports betting platforms. 

The sports betting industry is also growing by leaps and bounds, thanks to celebrity endorsements, affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. Most bets are placed during the IPL, ODI and Cricket World Cup matches, most recently between India and Australia.

Although sports betting is illegal in India and may carry misdemeanour penalties in a few Indian states, the introduction of crypto casinos has made things easier and more anonymous. Statista projects online sports betting revenue in India will grow to $2.47 billion by 2027, while the number of users is expected to reach 17.4 million. 

The report shows increased traffic to widespread sports betting sites from young Indian gamblers, with referral bonuses and affiliate marketing cited as key drivers. A few Indian bettors also run online casino review sites and sports blogs to promote sports betting sites and/or invite millions of youngsters to claim exclusive referral bonuses when registering an account. 

How casino-based movies and web series influence Indian youth to gamble

Gambling has long been a popular theme in cinema, and many movies and OTT series glamorise casino platforms and casino games, influencing the perceptions and attitudes of audiences toward real world betting.

Many filmmakers play upon gambling stereotypes to create unique and adrenaline-filled storylines. The latest OTT series, 'The Casino,' is about fighting to take over the biggest Indian casino as the family heir has to fight all odds to claim it.

Meanwhile, Yesteryear movies such as Gambler and The Great Gambler showed the glitz and glamour of offline casinos, while films like Striker and Jannat showed the sports betting side, known as Satta, in the local language. New movies like Race 2 and Teen Patti have also highlighted the thrills of risk-taking and encouraged real-money gameplay. 

Some viewers, particularly young Indians who are more likely to take risks, are drawn in by the allure and motivated to try their luck gambling at online casinos. However, movies must adhere to the rules and regulations set by the government to prevent problem gambling and ensure the youth understand the risks involved.

Note: Look out for your state's rules and regulations for playing online casino games. It will help you avoid jail time and penalties.

Pros and cons of gambling for young Indian gamblers 

Pros Cons
✅ Availability of Indian casino games
❌ Increased risk of problem gambling and addiction
✅ Low betting limits in Indian currency
❌ May fall prey to online financial scams
✅ Chance to win real money and use online casino bonuses
❌ May end up facing penalties if participating in illegal gambling activities
✅ Option to play casino games from the comfort of their home or on the move thanks to mobile capabilities
✅ Can gamble using various payment options and apps
✅ Live casino games offer an authentic experience
✅ Play for entertainment purposes in free-play mode

Play responsibly at licensed and fair play gambling sites

Indian youth are turning to online casinos for entertainment and the chance to win real money. However, there can be adverse consequences if the law is not followed correctly. 

Youngsters must access licensed and regulated online casinos like those listed and verified by expert casino review platforms. This will ensure they play at secure sites that adhere to strict protocols and have responsible gambling tools available. 

Always gamble responsibly and never bet more than you can afford to lose to ensure your online gambling remains fun. Set a budget, stick to a time limit and manage your bankroll for the best gaming experience.

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Beyond chance: where gambling and Vedic astrology meet
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Beyond chance: where gambling and Vedic astrology meet

Whether you like it or not, luck plays a crucial role in gambling. And while many would argue that it’s an unreliable force, for many Indians, the ancient tradition of Vedic astrology offers a way to understand how luck works in the universe and how one could potentially manipulate it to work in one’s favour.

Vedic astrology (known as Jyotish in Sanskrit) is the practice of studying planetary positions, celestial influences, and karmic patterns to understand how these influence and shape human lives and destinies.

When it comes to gambling, some Indians look to Vedic astrology to boost their chances of success. By analysing astrological charts and horoscopes, and identifying cosmic connections, gamblers seek to find the most advantageous time to gamble, looking for lucky combinations of numbers, or even charms and rituals to help improve their chances.

Let’s look at this more closely:

Planetary configurations

"Muhurtha", an essential principle of Vedic astrology, indicates the opportune time to partake in certain activities based on planetary configurations. It also highlights when best to avoid certain activities. So, in the case of gambling, a player would wait for a favourable Muhurtha to maximise their chances of success.

Presence of the planets

Vedic astrology focuses on nine “grahas”, which are collectively referred to as the “navagrahas” (nava meaning nine). They include the sun (Surya), moon (Chandra), Mars (Mangala), Mercury (Budha), Jupiter (Brihaspati), Venus (Shukra), Saturn (Shani), Rahu (north node of the moon), and Ketu (south node of the moon). According to Vedic astrology, the planet Venus offers luxury and Jupiter provides immense wealth. A conjunction of Jupiter and Venus unafflicted with the moon is therefore said to bring good luck and prosperity.

Birth charts

Many Indians strongly believe in analysing their birth chart in every aspect of their life. This comes from Vedic astrology, which argues that the alignment of different celestial bodies at your birth can provide invaluable insights. In the case of betting, it could highlight a person’s gambling and risk-taking tendencies and subsequent strategies they could employ to maximise their chances of winning, translating into profits and success.

Astrology and numerology

Hindus love to rely on their favourite numbers, particularly when it comes to gambling, and generally prefer odd numbers over even. Seven and eight are considered auspicious numbers, representing success and prosperity. Many Hindus also use these numbers at the time of Diwali when, in some houses, gambling is a ritual. Another lucky sequence of numbers in Hinduism is 786, representing the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

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