online A growing number of people moved to online casinos amidst the lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Data from Google Trends show that searches for online casino were at an all-time high. As the lockdown forced people to stay at home, there was a boom in online traffic in all fields. Online casinos were the top gainers during this period as thousands of new users registered every day.
According to a report from The Business Research Company, online poker witnessed a 43% growth since April 2020. Whereas the number of first-time online poker players increased by 255% since the start of coronavirus lockdown. The report suggests that an increased engagement during this period along with mobile app support played catalyst in this growth. According to App Annie, mobile gambling accounted for 70% of total gambling revenue in 2020.
For some, this unprecedented growth in online gambling may seem a cause for concern. Isolation, boredom, and financial distress which were on the rise during the lockdown were seen as “contributing factors” to gambling problems by GamCare, a UK-based charity. However, the UK Gambling Commission, one of the highly reputed gambling regulators in the world, said there was no evidence of an increase in gambling problems. Top online casinos with licenses from the UK Gambling Commission and MGA support responsible gambling. Players can use features such as self-exclusion, reality-checks, and set a deposit limit on these casino sites.
With traditional entertainment methods shut during the lockdown, people moved online to find new avenues to beat their boredom. More money was spent on online entertainment as thousands of new users flocked to online casinos every day. Casino sites offered attractive bonuses to new players along with support for local payment methods such as UPI, PhonePe, and NetBanking.
In addition to making quick transactions, the online casino operators also accepted bets on casino games in Indian Rupees. Moreover, live dealer versions of traditional Indian card games such as Teen Patti and Andar Bahar became an instant hit among Indian players. Other live dealer games popular among Indian players during the lockdown included Roulette, Blackjack, and Poker.
Binge-watching shows and movies on streaming platforms was a completely one-sided affair. It lacked the essential element of interaction and consequently, would lose its charm. Online casinos, on the other hand, offered everything at one place – An interactive environment where users could choose from a wide range of casino and live dealer games. The friendly and professional dealers coupled with high quality streaming and quick bets made for an immersive casino experience. As a result, the new casino users were also the ones who visited these sites more frequently.
The efforts to attract new users from India paid off big time for online casinos. In an attempt to localize their websites, casino operators pushed the envelope even further by offering customer service in local Indian languages such as Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil. This helped the online casino sites gain trust of their new users, and consequently catapulted their growth to new heights. One of the top gainers among online casinos is Dafabet, who cater to Indian consumers. See this BaaziKing review of Dafabet, which shows how popular they are. Other casinos showing strong growth were Royal Panda, Betway, LeoVegas, and 22Bet. The user base of these sites increased manifold during the covid-19 lockdown.
While Royal Panda continued to enjoy an unwavering popularity, Dafabet emerged as the new favorite casino destination among Indian players. The betting site gained popularity for its loyalty bonus offerings along with other weekly and monthly promotions. Whereas, at Royal Panda, Indian players featured in the top 5 jackpot winners more frequently during the lockdown period. Whether it was daily, weekly, or monthly leaderboard of winners, there were always 2 to 3 Indian names on that list with more than a million Indian Rupees in winnings.
One of the popular casino promotions across all leading casino sites was Free Spins for Book of Dead. The popular slots game offers great returns and online casinos offered 10 or more Free Spins in addition to a welcome bonus. Some casino sites such as LeoVegas even offered a no-deposit Free Spins promotion wherein players would get Free Spins on a Slots game immediately after signup.
This can be seen as a new beginning for online casinos. The lockdown had a huge impact on the global online gambling market. As the report from The Business Research Company suggests, with these driving factors behind the current growth and the changing world situation, the online gambling market is expected to grow at a rate of 12% from $58.6 billion in 2019 to $92.86 billion in 2023. Further, it may grow at a CAGR of 10.4% to reach $113.25 billion in 2025. The top competitors in the industry have realized the market potential in India. In the near future, more and more online casinos are likely to revamp their sites and operations to fit in the Indian market.