Online betting has been popular across the world for over two decades. The trend has recently caught on in India where the government has yet to accord legitimacy to online betting. However, the matter is being actively debated by analysts and commentators in India who feel that it is just a matter of time before the Indian government decides to legalize the activity.
Promoters of international betting sites who want a slice of the lucrative betting market in India, which has a population in excess of 1.3 billion, have chosen to target Indian bettors with their sites set up from offshore locations such as Malta in order to stay legitimate. Online betting in India is growing steadily popular and attracting bettors in droves.
Deposits and Withdrawals in INR
Some international betting sites recognize the advantage of accepting deposits and allowing withdrawals in INR. The Indian bettor has to cope with local banking laws that discourage gambling and make it hard, if not impossible, to transact with a betting site.
Allowing Indian bettors to deposit or withdraw in INR makes great business sense for promoters of betting sites as the Indian bettor can now transact without having to convert to dollars or pounds, losing money on conversion rates and banking fees in the process.
Promotions/ Free Bets
International sites targeting Indian bettors offer generous promotions in INR, including welcome bonuses and free bets. There are especially important, as most Indian bettors are relatively new to online betting. Bonuses and free bets would motivate them to try to become familiar with something that they are relatively new to.
Betting on Cricket and Other Sports
Promoters of international betting sites that target the Indian market are aware that cricket is likely to attract most bettors in India where the game is nothing less than a religion. Smart promoters ensure that their betting sites make navigation as easy as possible for Indian bettors who wish to bet on cricket.
While international matches featuring India have the widest following, Indian fans celebrate popular tournaments such as the Indian Premier League as fervently as they would a religious festival. In fact, each team in the IPL has a loyal fan base, and most teams rely on sell out crowds to help them win home matches.
Successful players acquire legendary status, and, most importantly, local players get to rub shoulders with international stars from other countries. Not surprisingly, there is rampant betting on IPL matches, much of it in play.
In play betting, in particular, can attract many Indian bettors who might want an unlimited number of markets when they bet on a live match. When Indians watch a match, they do so in the company of friends. Before every ball or over, they discuss possibilities with great anticipation.
How many runs will the next ball bring? Will a wicket fall? Will the players at the crease continue to stay together? If so, for how long? What kind of target will India set/ have to chase? Which bowler can India rely on to deliver for them? How many wickets will he take?
Indian bettors are less attracted to many Western sports with which they are not very familiar, such as baseball or darts. Few, if any, are attracted to casino games. The betting sites that are most likely to attract Indian bettors are those that offer betting opportunities in a limited range of sports, such as cricket, horse racing, football, tennis and kabaddi.
Bilingual Betting Sites
While India has many regional languages, Hindi is the language that is spoken and understood by a majority of Indians. Some smart promoters of betting sites who are aware that many Indians are not fluent in English offer bilingual sites in both English and Hindi.
This makes it easier for many Indians, especially those who live in a vast tract of the country referred to as the “Hindi Belt,” to navigate through the sites and place bets on their favourite sports/ markets.
Modes of Deposit/ Withdrawal
Betting sites targeting the Indian market offer bettors several modes of depositing and withdrawing funds, including bank transfers, ewallets, and credit and debit cards, among others. But Indian bettors largely prefer to deposit and withdraw funds using ewallets such as Skrill and Neteller.
An Indian bettor who wishes to deposit funds into his sportsbook account at a betting site must do so without attracting undue attention from bankers who might work to prevent such transactions.
A popular ploy that Indian bettors use to accomplish this end is to deposit money into an ewallet such as Neteller, and then transfer the funds onward into another ewallet such as Skrill. They finally transfer the funds from Skrill to their betting account.
Withdrawals of winnings are also similarly routed, first into their Skrill accounts, and then into their Neteller accounts, before finally transferring such winnings from their Neteller accounts to their bank accounts. At every stage, they are required to confirm that any deposit made is for a non gambling purpose.
By using such a devious route to transfer funds in either direction, the Indian bettor can avoid leaving an audit trail that could prove that he has gambled online.
Indian bettors are also becoming increasingly aware that making a deposit is easier than effecting a withdrawal. International betting sites do not allow withdrawals until all required documents have been submitted by a bettor. These include proof of identity and address required at the time of opening the account.
Safety is Paramount An Indian bettor is highly concerned with the safety of his data, not only to protect himself from fraud but also to ensure that he does not leave any audit trail that can cause him to get into trouble with the government.
Recognizing the primary need of Indian bettors for such safety precautions, International betting sites that seek a share of the Indian betting market ensure that they have state of the art encryption technology in place before they woo the Indian bettor.