Indian digital gaming market is growing at the speed of light. With behemoths like Alibaba-backed Paytm, Tencent and Nazara investing in the online gaming industry, India is set to become one of the top three countries for mobile gaming in the world.
This online gaming boom has opened a whole new space for online poker startups to bloom in the country. Despite foreign direct investments being not allowed into poker startups, the poker industry in India is set to be worth INR 700 crores.
And the industry is expected to grow over the upcoming years.
Here are 10 reasons why the poker industry in India will skyrocket in the upcoming seven to ten years.
India’s Average Age is 29 Years
Youth love e-sports. When Ninja Vegas 18 streamed tournament of Fortnite, that took place in Esports Arean in Las Vegas, the video broke Twitch’s records. While there are several e-sports and games available in the market, poker is the game that involves money. And money attracts youth.
Moreover, India has more than 50% of its population below the age of 25 and 65% below the age of 35, according to Wikipedia. By 2020, the average age of Indians will be 29 years. And this age group is the very target audience for online poker industry.
Poker Involves Money, Money, Money
Online poker tournaments come in handy with the opportunity to win thousands of dollars overnight. With more startups coming into this space, poker tournaments guarantee millions of dollars in their pools. People have made $1000+ a month playing poker online.
Startups like Uma Poker launched an INR 1 lakh GTD Sweepstakes tournament, which is an INR 1,100 tournament taking place daily at 7 PM. Simultaneously, the startup launched the daily Fish Pool tournament that allows the players to participate in INR 10,000 GTD prize pool by paying INR 275 at 12:30 PM every day.
Involvement of Celebrities & Filmstars
Celebrities like Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty has launched their own poker app and platform called “Poker Raj” in September this year. This has led to huge media attraction and coverage about the poker industry which in turn has led to the free press about the game in India. With money being involved and the promises to win thousands of dollars, the press coverage and celebrity involvement has added fuel to the fire.
Online Poker is Legal in India
As per the Supreme Court’s rulings, Rummy and Teen Patti are considered as games of skills and therefore legal. When it comes to poker, the legality varies from state to state. While it is legal to play poker in West Bengal, Karnataka and Nagaland, Assam and Odisha prohibits the game.
The High Courts of Karnataka and Calcutta have noted that police/law enforcement authorities cannot interfere in the game of poker. However, the scenario is expected to change in the upcoming years.
Increasing Interest of Venture Firms
Startups need money to grow. And poker startups are slowly gaining popularity among venture capitalists and angel investors in India. However, due to ambiguous laws, it is expected to grow slowly by continuously in the upcoming years.
Last month, WaterBridge ventures invested $3.8 million into an online poker startup. Investors like Tencent Holdings, Claivest Group and others have also invested more than $173 million into two Indian poker startups.
Increasing Awareness on Social Media
Online poker players like Vanessa Selbst and Michael Mizrachi has verified profiles on Twitter with 96K and 80K followers respectively. Vanessa is the highest earning female poker player in the world. It clearly indicates that poker players are turning out to be celebrities.
And who doesn’t want to be a celebrity? And earn money too. Due to the penetration of social media into Indian society, knowledge and awareness about poker are growing at a fast pace.
Awarded by the President
Muskan Sethi, India’s top female poker player, created buzz when she was awarded by the President of India in January this year. She was selected as one of the 100 Women Achievers selected by Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Sethi is the manager of the Diehards in the Global Poker League India and she’s now India’s 30th-ranked player on PocketFives, racking up a total of $115,658 in cash online with her nickname “musku89,” and another $44,310 in live tournament cashes.
Infusion of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is the future as it fascinates human minds. Two AI programs recently beat human professional card players at a popular poker game of Texas Hold’em. With the infusion of machine learning and artificial intelligence, the online poker industry is set to become harder.
And when something becomes harder, the prize money becomes larger. AI-infused poker gaming is the future of the online gaming industry in India in the upcoming years.
The JIO Effect
When Mukesh Ambani launched JIO, he not only crashed the stocks of his competitors but also opened a whole new era of online gaming in India. Jio has increased the number of internet users and improved the connection speed tremendously.
Jio has opened a whole set of the new target audience for the online poker startups in India and is proving to be a catalyst in the growth of online poker in India. Online poker companies like Uma Poker is utilizing this potential to change the poker playing experience.