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A guide to starting an online casino in India 2024

August 25, 2023
19 min
14777

When it comes to choosing a market for an online casino operation, it’s true that size matters. This is one of the reasons why you should keep India in your sights if you’re thinking of expanding your iGaming empire (or starting one).

The online casino industry is booming, with the potential to offer enticing prospects for both investors and entrepreneurs. However, achieving success in this business requires much more than purchasing a website domain name.

The roadmap to a flourishing online casino is long and multifaceted. That is why we have compiled this article to guide you through all the necessary steps. Read on to discover everything you need to know about starting an online casino targeted at the Indian audience.

Why online casino operators are now choosing India as their preferred market

Home to over 1.4 billion people, India overtook China as the world’s most populous country in the world in April 2023.

With enhanced connectivity from its expanding technology infrastructure, India's online iGaming space is poised for explosive growth. Gambling in India is already estimated to be worth more than $100 billion per year, and this figure is set to grow significantly given the increasing number of people connecting to the internet annually.

As one of the BRIC nations, India has an extremely rapidly developing market economy, and shows no signs of slowing down. It has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity. Also, India can claim the prize of being the world’s largest democracy, with over 550 million voters participating in its last election.

These population statistics alone should be enough to pique the interest of any prospective online casino owner. To put those figures into perspective, India’s population is over four times the size of The United States and is home to three of the world’s top ten largest megacities. So, if you’re someone who understands demographic scale, then you will certainly see the audience potential here.

The country’s communications infrastructure is rapidly developing. India is now home to nearly 700 million smartphone users. In terms of new internet usage growth, India is currently ranked 1st in the world with over 160 million new users getting online since 2022.. Over the past decade, internet penetration in India has quadrupled, surging from 12.6 percent nationwide in 2012 to an impressive 48.7 percent in 2022.

India also has an interesting linguistic diversity, with more languages being spoken than any other large country. However, Hindi and English are the most widely used and are both the official languages of the nation.

It is common knowledge that English is the most widely used language on the internet. However, a lesser-known yet significant fact is that India has the second-largest number of English speakers in the world. With over 135 million English speakers, it has over twice the amount of English speakers that the United Kingdom does.

This means fewer translation issues and greater access to skilled digital workers, including developers, virtual assistants, security teams, and more. Considering these factors can play a crucial role in your business' success.

When it comes to localizing your iGaming operation in another major Indian language, such as Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, or Urdu; the digital talent pool will be much more accessible. This is a unique and often overlooked advantage that India offers in comparison to other large nations such as Brazil, Russia, or China.

Now that we’ve looked at India’s enormous population and quickly expanding communications infrastructure, let’s have a closer look at two other important aspects of running an online casino operation.

India's gambling licenses

Gambling regulations in India vary from state to state. This is because states in India are entitled to formulate their own laws for gambling activities. For example, some states like Goa have legalized land-based casinos, whereas in other states it is banned.

Common gambling activities like organized betting are generally restricted, except for selective categories including lotteries and horse racing.

At a national level, there are 3 types of legislation to be aware of:

The Public Gambling Act of 1867:

This national law prohibits running or being in charge of a public gambling house. Whilst this does not specifically affect an online casino, it is worth being aware of the legislation.

The Prize Competition Act of 1955:

The Prize Competition Act was enforced by Parliament in 1955 to restrict games that awarded prizes as winnings. The law states that any prize competition where a prize is offered for solving a puzzle, either number, alphabet, crossword, missing word, or picture prize competitions, where the prize exceeds 1,000 Rupees shall be prohibited under the new Prize Competition Act.

The Information Technology Act of 2000:

This national act that regulates cyber activities in India does not mention the words “gambling” or “betting.” Therefore, the act was left for interpretation by the courts which have refused to examine the matter.

The key thing to consider here is that even though Indian casinos cannot promote or have sites that promote online gambling games, such as casino, sports betting, and bingo, it is not illegal for non-Indian casino companies (offshore companies) to have sites that focus on Indian players.

Despite relatively lax regulations, some changes have occurred in Indian legislation in recent years to tighten the grip over gambling. Not so long ago, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a recommendation for print, electronic and digital media to refrain from advertising online betting platforms.

Moreover, The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has amended the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. Additionally, a new Finance Bill was passed, and a legal framework for "self-regulatory bodies" was created.

These self-regulatory bodies consist of companies with expertise and representatives from areas such as education, mental health, and child protection. The new regulation defines two types of permitted gambling: online games for prizes (allowed online games) without involving real money, and real money online gaming (permitted real money online gaming), which must be approved by the self-regulatory body.

The law has come under criticism because the self-regulatory body will make final decisions on games based on ambiguous definitions in the new law. It is not yet clear how strict the selection will be according to the criteria. However, gambling operators ("Online Gaming Intermediaries") must now pay special attention to whether their content meets the new regulations and can pass self-regulatory review before making it available to local players.

India's online gambling market is undergoing one more major change in 2023, with the introduction of a new tax rate. While the GST has yet to confirm a start date, legislative amendments will be necessary to implement the tax. Unlike the previous gross gaming revenue (GGR) tax, the new tax will be based on turnover. However, this change has been met with criticism, and the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has expressed concerns about its impact. They fear that this new tax could make it difficult for businesses to survive and could lead to more players turning to unlicensed operators.

Now that you’re aware of the news regarding operating, we’ll just add in that Slotegrator can assist you in attaining an online casino license that works within India. This process is explained further on in this article.

India's payment systems

Integrating the right payment systems is always essential. This will be a key factor in determining how your online casino will operate, how players will transfer funds, and what fees your business will incur.

When looking at implementing any online payment system provider (PSP) into an online casino platform it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Security and anti-hacking capabilities.
  • Anti-fraud potential.
  • Fast payment processing.
  • Supports multiple currencies.
  • Supports multiple payment methods.
  • Good reputation, registered company, and online support.

So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways to pay online in India.

Paytm

Paytm is an Indian e-commerce payment system and financial technology company, based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The service is available in 11 Indian languages and offers online use-cases like mobile recharges, utility bill payments, travel, movies, and events bookings as well as in-store payments at grocery stores, restaurants, parking, tolls, pharmacies etc. via the use of a Paytm QR code. As of September 2022, Paytm was valued at around $1.1 billion.

GPay

GPay from Google is a very popular online payment method available in India. It allows users to pay and receive money instantly using existing bank account info (after registration) with no fees. The service works with all banks that support BHIM UPI. It works via API allowing you to negate using complex POS systems.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Immediate Payments Interface (IMPS)

UPI and IMPS, payment systems developed by the National Payments Corporation of India, operate 24/7. It facilitates inter-bank transactions and is regulated by the Reserve Bank of India. The system works by instantly transferring funds between two bank accounts via a mobile platform. As of November 2022, there are 376 banks on UPI and 645 on IMPS. Furthermore, in May 2023, UPI recorded its highest-ever number of transactions at 9.41 billion, with a total value of ₹14.30 trillion ($1.2 billion USD).

For Merchants, UPI and IMPS are great because they allow seamless fund collection from customers only using single identifiers. They offer single-click 2FA facility to customers and In-App Payments (IAP), and they don’t store virtual addresses, which is perfect for online casinos.

Visa and Mastercard

Visa and Mastercard payments are also a secure method for processing online transactions in India. The two companies have been known jointly as the world standard for card payments for decades. However, it’s also been noted that their usage has been declining in recent years due to the uptake of other digital PSP options.

Despite this, we believe it’s much better to offer online casino players as many options as possible when it comes to incoming payment options.

Crypto

Crypto payments are gaining popularity every day. Cryptocurrencies are virtual assets that rely on a decentralized network spread across a vast number of computers. This unique structure enables cryptocurrencies to operate independently, free from the control of central governments or authorities.

Consequently, crypto has become a preferred payment method for online gambling, due to the higher level of privacy and anonymity they offer compared to traditional payment methods. As a result, the sense of security and convenience provided by cryptocurrency payments could encourage players to spend more money on casinos and betting online.

13 important locations in India

Now that you’ve learned more about India’s demographics, gambling laws, and most popular PSPs, we would like to highlight 13 important locations in India that you should keep in mind.

Delhi — The nation’s capital and the second-largest city in India. Home to the impressive Akshardham temple, India Gate, Lotus Temple, and over 25 million residents.

Mumbai — Mumbai is India's largest city and is the financial capital of the country, generating 6.16% of India’s GDP.

Other important locations in India to consider: Karnataka, Madhya, Pradesh, Gujarat, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, West Bengal, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh.

Online Casino Development Roadmap

The key to successfully launching any digital project online is to create a realistic development roadmap. It’s also just as important to integrate certain elements in the right order. For visual learners, we have a fresh YouTube video in our channel.

Typically, launching a successful online casino requires the following steps to take place:

  • Integration
  • Self-validation for game integration
  • Website Frontend Development
  • Website Backend configuration and checking
  • PSP integration and testing
  • UI/UX checks (the physical interface of the website, such as buttons and links)
  • License preview (to make sure your project is legal)
  • Pilot checks (final sign-off before launching)

By following this roadmap and working together, we can assist you in launching your online casino project in both a timely and successful manner. Throughout every stage of this roadmap, Slotegrator can provide valuable assistance and access to a team of digital experts, ensuring a smooth and successful launch. Typically, we discuss online casino launches happening in two phases:

  • Pre-Launch
  • Post-Launch

Understanding the differences between these two phases makes this whole process a lot easier to digest. The graphics below will give you a good idea of what percentage of time and expense you need to dedicate to each area of the development roadmap.

Of course, it’s not just about launching your project, but also about making it sustainable.

To sustain your project, you need to consider various ways to market it digitally. We cannot stress this enough. If you have looked at the two infographics above, you will notice that, out of all the percentage figures, marketing is the most critical. Therefore, we have given it the highest priority.

So, let's delve into the topic of marketing your online casino.

Acquisition and Retention

In the iGaming world, player acquisition and retention simply means attracting new players and keeping them engaged with your product. From a marketing perspective, this is considered a base-level strategy, as it forms the foundation of a successful campaign.

Now, the question arises: how do you effectively acquire and retain players? Well, there are numerous strategies that you can implement. Some of these strategies may require financial investment, while others will demand good old-fashioned hard work.

Fundamentally, the approach and desired outcomes are the same: to generate interest in your product and retain those players who show interest. So, read on as we elaborate on some proven methods. And if you want to find more detailed info on acquisition and retention, check our video.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a buzzword commonly used by digital agencies and marketers. Essentially, it is the process of positioning your website within a search engine so that users can easily find it when searching for specific keywords.

There are numerous strategies that can be implemented to achieve this goal, but the ultimate objective for any digital marketer is always the same: to have their website appear at the top of the search engine results page.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a form of performance-based marketing that rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought in through their own marketing efforts.

In the world of iGaming, affiliate marketing can be particularly interesting due to the many layers of engagement that can be created around an online casino project. Consider memberships, rewards, reviews, and, of course, bonuses, which brings us nicely to our next point.

Bonuses

Just like any digital project, it's absolutely vital to step into the user's shoes and see things from their perspective.

User experience (UX) describes the journey a user takes while navigating a product's interface. In this case, an online casino offering a variety of games.

Now, let's be clear: the users care about the end product, not the countless hours spent developing it, the logo design, or the software architect's name. What truly matters is the product's usability and user experience.

And here's where the magic happens — bonuses. These little gems can be the ultimate game-changer for your iGaming venture, setting it apart from countless other online casinos. Bonuses are integral to the customer experience, and they can make or break a user's decision to use your product.

But let's not forget the grand finale — a quality customer experience. It means that the user's expectations are met or exceeded at all points of contact. This is the "hook," the reason why millions of people spend hours watching Netflix, reading celebrity gossip, and playing online games. Get it right, and you'll soon be reaping the rewards of satisfied and loyal players.

VIP and loyalty programs

VIP and loyalty programs are an extension of the philosophy and psychology behind bonuses. They take the customer experience to a whole new level by making players feel like the real VIPs they truly are.

To make a customer feel special, you need to make them feel valued by rewarding them for their time and input, specifically the time and money they've put into playing your game.

The VIP treatment is similar to being seated behind the red velvet rope with a glass of champagne in a real-life casino. It's not the standard experience that every player gets, but an experience reserved only for those who deserve it.

Recreating VIP treatment and loyalty programs in a digital environment requires a different approach. Just like bonuses, the strategies you choose regarding this topic are crucial to the success of your product.

Think of VIP and loyalty programs as more than just rewards—they're your secret weapons to retain players and entice them to indulge even more in your online casino wonderland.

Remember, high-stakes players and pros have their options. They could spend their time elsewhere. But with your brilliant loyalty and VIP offerings, you can tempt them to stay, play, and embrace the full splendor of your online casino.

Games and Software

Okay, so we have covered a lot of ground regarding the development and marketing strategies that Slotegrator offers, but what about the actual games themselves?

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that if you want to create a successful online casino project then you are going to need to offer lots of high-quality games for your players to immerse themselves in.

iGaming players are not only there simply to try and win but to also enjoy the gaming experience itself. As we mentioned earlier, the gaming experience is a major player in marketing. You will have to offer a variety of fun, immersive and engaging games to offer your prospective players.

Luckily for you, Slotegrator offers more than 15,000 games for online projects. We have hundreds of different slots, card, and board games available, including games with live dealers and virtual sports. We have working relationships with a variety of internationally recognized game developers such as Amatic, Microgaming, Endorphina, TomHorn, Habanero, and the list goes on and on. These game development virtuosos have won the hearts of millions of gamers worldwide.

By partnering with Slotegrator, your project will have access to the best iGaming software available. This is because we have already done the hard work for you by sourcing the very best software providers.

Key performance indicators

As your online casino project grows, you’ll need ways to measure your success.

If you don’t know how to do it, or have never heard of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) before, get ready for a quick overview.

Much like creating a development roadmap for your project, it’s just as important that you set yourself some KPIs in order for you to gauge the progress of your project’s development, especially after it’s launched.

Measuring success in iGaming loosely revolves around 3 KPIs.

  • Revenue KPIs: Gross Gaming Revenue, Net Gaming Revenue, NGR-to-Deposits, Bets-to-Deposits.
  • People KPIs: Сonversion Rate, Player Lifetime Value (LTV), Churn Rate, Attrition Rate.
  • Hybrid KPIs: Cost Per Acquisition, Average Revenue Per Use.

Forming an Online Casino Team

In order to create a successful online casino, you will need to put together a team of specialists to run the various parts of the business.

Essential roles that need to be fulfilled:

C-Suite management roles:

  • Director / CEO / Founder
  • Chief Technical Officer
  • Chief Legal Officer
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer

Operational roles:

  • Website Operations — Website’s UX and UI, visibility, traffic, maintenance, updates.
  • Project Management — Dealing with stakeholders and vendors, accomplishing other tasks.
  • Business Analytics — Analyzing data and providing statistical insights.
  • Software Development — Website’s backend and frontend.
  • Finance — Deposits, withdrawals, procurement, and banking campaigns.
  • Marketing — Player acquisition and retention campaigns.
  • Legal and Compliance — Monitoring of online gambling regulations.
  • Fraud control — Detection of any suspicious activities.
  • Customer service and engagement — Player complaints and inquiries.

FAQs

How can Slotegrator help?

Slotegrator’s mission is to facilitate growth within the iGaming sector — specifically for its partners and clients. We take your vision for an iGaming project and then help turn that vision into a reality.

Founded in 2012, we have spent over 10 years working with major players in the online gambling market, have 100+ employees worldwide, and have launched over 80 iGaming projects. We pride ourselves on being able to offer entirely customizable designs and features for online casino games, offer 24/7 tech support, and can get most projects fully online and running within 4-12 weeks.

Read more about our turkney platform and its modules that help online casino operators start and grow. The solution offers everything needed, including UX, bonuses, KYC procedures, data and BI powered by AI, and risk management.

Comments

  • C
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    June 29, 2022
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