As per statistics online, India had 483 million internet users in 2018, which has risen to 564.9 million internet users in 2020. This influx has in turn drawn more people towards the world of online gaming. This also remains an exceptional source of entertainment for many in the country. There are numerous multiplayer games which attract people, but creating a niche for itself, is poker. It is no surprise that the younger generation is considering poker as an alternative source of income.
It remains a fact that even though it's only been a few years that India has seen a boom in the poker industry, it’s future remains bright. According to KPMG, the online gaming industry in India showed an estimated size of Rs 4,380 crore (FY18), which is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22.1 percent to touch Rs 11,880 crore by FY2023. Within this, the online card games are growing at 35-40% percent year-on-year. As per a report in the Financial Express reflecting on the budget 2020, the skill-based gaming industry, namely rummy, fantasy sports and poker, is considered to be the biggest employment and revenue generator in the gaming space in India. Additionally, the poker industry is trying to change the perception of the game from being one of chance to actually being a highly skill-based sport. India’s poker industry is considered to be quite a lucrative one, with several established companies and start-ups wanting a share of the market. It’s a point to consider that India has the world’s largest population of youth and the 2nd largest internet-user population. It adds more than 190 million users to the online gaming industry including poker.
Prominent Indians are taking poker more seriously. Celebrities and entrepreneurs alike are delving into the world of poker in India. To help the younger generation understand the game of poker, Spartan Poker has conducted various tournaments and activities in association with IITs and MBA colleges during their college fests. It has also been considered a tool of viable learning by professors as poker teaches strategic management. Indians are slowly seeing how the game of poker involves strategy and risk management expertise. It’s an interesting fact to note that this game is not limited to male players in the country. It has seen a lot of talented women players as well who have showcased their knowledge of the game of poker.
While things seem to be positively changing for poker in India, certain key issues still need to be worked upon. There is a tangible requirement for regulation of the sport that needs to be incorporated. There is a certain amount of ambiguity regarding the various methods used by gaming companies to monetise the games. Taking a hint from the global markets India still needs policies that will validate the nature of online poker. With the rapid addition of online poker portals, there remains a risk of online frauds and cybersecurity. But there are renowned and established poker portals that are both safe and transfer the promised money within the stipulated time frame. Spartan Poker is one such trusted portal that values its players the most and is constantly looking to innovate their value offerings to their users.
The increasing number of poker start-ups, the encouraging attitude of celebrities and the involvement of more and more youth all indicate towards a positive market for poker. However, once the stigma associated with game vanishes completely and there is proper legal and technical infrastructure, India will become one of the most lucrative markets for poker.