By Vivek Singh
India has become an emergent market for online gaming. With the widespread adoption and advancement in technology, the online gaming industry in India is undergoing tremendous evolution and has become one of the fastest-growing industries among others. According to the estimates of KPMG, the Indian online gaming industry is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22 % to reach 11,880 Cr. by 2023 from 4,380 Cr. in 2018. Considering the present market scenario, there are several online games developed with innovative formats, out of which – online poker game has become a crusader that is creating disruption in the online gaming industry.
The unprecedented growth in online poker gaming is the result of the acceptance that it has witnessed in international markets – mainly the US, UK, China, and Europe. Now with the boom of the digital era and stay-at-home orders due to the COVID pandemic, the industry is capturing a huge market share of the Indian online gaming industry. As per the industry reports, the online poker industry is presently growing at a rate of 35-40 % year on year. Additionally, the number of online poker players in India is also on a continuous rise – making it more than 3 million active players at present.
Origin and evolution of Indian online poker gaming
Poker is not new to the Indian community. It was played like the game of cards 200 years back to kill boredom and win rewards. Gradually, it evolved into PC games – single-player and arcade modes. Later in the late 1990s, the penetration of smartphones and the internet resulted in the popularity and accessibility of poker games for the masses. However, the period from 2003-2007 is considered as the time when the online gaming industry witnessed an exponential boom. Online poker was widely available on prominent social media site – Facebook in the browser version. It attracted a huge user base as it was an innovation in the gaming industry that allowed players to add real opponents in the window.
From 2D gaming formats to live dealer interaction and real money-making game, they are disrupting the industry like never before. Introduction of real-time gaming, tournaments, cash rewards, in-app purchases, 3D and Live Poker, and many others are appealing to the market and enhancing the gaming experience for its userbase.
Factors accelerating market growth
The online poker industry is becoming one of the most popular sectors in India – not only for entertainment but also for making money. Being a real money game, online poker has the potential to help people make money by using their mind skills. People have started seeing it as a competitive sport that tests the skills of the mind.
The obsession for online poker is ascending as the existing formats are being improved along with the introduction of new ones. There is a completely new level of user engagement with in-app purchases, and real money rewards. Furthermore, the security and ease in making digital payments are contributing immensely in making the players consider online poker a serious method to earn money by using their mind skills.
Besides, the developers of online poker are also integrating innovative formats to make the game interactive for players. For instance, being one of the most advanced poker operators in the industry, we have added a two-way Live Audio Video chat feature to let the online players interact at the tables. Our app is one of its kind in the industry that proves real-time live dealer poker gaming experience to the players. These concepts transform the monotonous gaming formats into real-world opportunities that further results in driving the growth of the industry.
The trend of online poker is going to stay for long. It is believed that the industry is all set to head towards the second boom mainly because of the COVID-19 that are continuing to soar alarmingly. The online poker operators are expecting a fresh rise in the traffic due to the continued stay-at-home orders, adoption of remote working models, and shutdown of physical casinos and gaming zones. In the coming months, online poker is highly predicted to have a global fanbase by attracting more players interested in real money gaming apps.
The author is co-founder of Stick Pool Club. Views expressed are personal.