In 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed a two-decade plus old law that banned betting. The decision opened the floodgates to online betting and saw entrepreneurs from many states jump into the fray to legally launch their virtual betting enterprises.
Many states were quick enough to reap the benefits of this landmark decision, leading to an upsurge in sports betting volume. Also, it created the perfect ground for the proliferation of global esports betting, which is scaling new heights of popularity every year.
Esports and India
India is no stranger to esports. However, until recently, it was a relatively nascent industry that accounted for just around 4 percent of all online gaming activities and less than10 percent of the country’s whole online gaming market revenue.
The scenario has changed dramatically over the past few years. With rapidly increasing internet penetration and smartphones becoming a necessity across all age groups, more people are getting hooked to esports games. Notably, the past few years have witnessed a vast increase in betting activities in the esports segment, especially in the fantasy sports niche.
Factors Accelerating the Growth of Esports In India
In India, several factors have contributed to the tectonic shifts in the esports market:
- Deeper penetration of the internet in almost all parts of the country.
- A young, well-informed, and enthusiastic youth population is eager to explore esports.
- The exponential growth of the smartphone market.
- Easy availability of high-speed 4G internet at low prices.
- A rising number of online gaming entrepreneurs who are willing to invest in advanced technologies.
- Increase in the number of competitions and tournaments across various games and titles.
- Lucrative prices are offered by top esports companies.
The Indian online gaming enthusiasts are steadily evolving from casual participants to professional esports players, thanks to the abundance of opportunities.
According to a recent survey:
- In India, around 17 million people take interest in esports.
- In FY 2020, esports startups in the country earned an aggregate revenue of $68 million.
- There has been a 123 percent increase in price money in Indian esports since 2016-18.
- The top players belong to the 15-24 age group, and they contribute an impressive 34 percent to the total time spent playing esports in India.
The Role of Female Esports Enthusiasts
India’s first female esports team called Gems is a quartet of four gaming enthusiasts. They are all successful professionals in their field of specialization and love to don the gaming avatar. Rayne is an all-female team – an extension of Gems. It is the first Indian all-female esports team to win an international gaming event. Many female gamers are reaching new heights in the esports market in India and breaking the stereotypes with commendable ease. A favourable online sports environment in India is also responsible for this exponential growth.
Notably, the adoption of esports has received more traction with COVID-19, shifting the social interactions online.
Esports betting in India is limited mostly to fantasy sports and not to the ‘real’ game. The authorities are still on the fence when it comes to deciding on regulating betting in sports. Traditional sports betting has a legal sanction in many countries. This has permeated to esports too, evident from the surge in the percentage of people indulging in this activity globally. However, the day is not far off when betting in esports will be completely legal in India.