Once upon a time, when I still had the freedom to relish summer vacations, one memory that stands out is of a summery evening, a hot cup of tea and a deck of cards with the entire family. An activity earlier limited to special festivals and lazy evenings has grown to become a booming profession. Aided by the increase in internet and smartphone penetration and the disposable income level of consumer, the poker industry has seen incredible growth over the past decade.
The advent of digital gaming, incorporation of virtual reality, augmented reality, and ease of online payment has established an upward curve in issuing innovative and state-of-the-art inspired online poker platforms. The burgeoning online poker market in India has taken multiple forms and led India to emerge as one of the most important global players in the international gaming market as well.
Poker, as a game of skill and chance, has been revered in India since before the British Raj. As the Indian poker variant Teen Patti gained mainstream interest, Spartan Poker identified the requirement and need of ‘player-centric gaming culture’ and pioneered in technological innovation-based advancements to propel the growth of poker in India. By objectively pursuing the bigger and brighter picture of the status quo of the poker industry, we nudged for transformation in varied form/format of participation and the character of the participant. At present, the online poker industry with an approximate of more than 1000 professional poker players stands at a promising market size of $110 and $120 million.
Poker in India still has a long way to go owing to the prevalent misnomers and prejudices regarding the game. However, with the rapid growth in digital infrastructure, there has been an exponential growth of online poker in the country. Compared to poker players in counterpart countries such as China, Japan, the US and the UK, Indian consumers include many casual gamers. Even so, with people becoming more comfortable in the usage of mobile internet, gaming is gradually becoming a preferred destination for entertainment.
As digitalization in India skyrocketed and more and more people shifted online, a niche segment of mature games emerged. With the attractive and easy user interface, a multiplayer theme inspired, pre-embedded games and applications revolutionized mobile gaming and enabled easy discovery and monetization. India Online Poker Championship is a semi-annual poker tournament that has garnered support and interest across the Indian strata.
This fundamental shift in the culture and mindset towards online gaming of consumers today is further augmented by social media. Gaming has evolved into a spectator sport with many gamers boasting large audiences logging in to catch their live streams. Online poker offers opportunities to those who are hesitant to play the game physically, while rules on poker are less enforced and as the country sees how profitable the industry can be, they will no doubt continue to be relaxed.
The sudden albeit steady rise can also be attributed to increasing frictionless payments and an increase in disposable income. As the advancements in the infrastructure take the high road; the interests of tech disruptors, investors, advertisers, and consumers running parallel with each other thereby add up to the fast-growing business.
As gamers increasingly spend more time on playing games, opportunities to build meaningful business and the revenues from gaming holds a chance to explode. Large gaming companies would also have to focus on building platforms to engage female audiences and increase market penetration. With the internet infrastructure strengthening it would also require them to tap into pocket audiences across diverse geographical strata.