Wagering money on sports and card games has been around in India for longer than we can remember. Gambling has its roots in India’s past and is quite immersed in most aspects of the country’s present.
While physical betting houses and casinos may be deemed illegal by most Indian states, there still exists an underground and shady underworld of bookies offering betting opportunities during events such as the IPL. These illegal betting businesses are a well-known secret for most Indians.
However, in recent years, India has seemingly embraced the practice of online betting. Since the Public Gambling Act of 1867 does not prohibit the use of online casinos and online betting sites that are based outside the country, people now have a legal loophole, through which they can gamble real money online!
This loophole, however, is not the only factor contributing to the fact that Indians have become more prone to spending their money on gambling websites or real money gaming apps. There is also the technological advancement in payments to credit here. The growth of digital payment systems like UPI is directly responsible for people spending more money on gaming apps and websites.
According to the NPCI, it was in the year 2020 that UPI really came into its own and became a true payments giant – between the months of September to December, the number of transactions done on UPI saw exponential growth.
In fact, UPI is projected to capture the majority of the market share in the digital payments sector in India, moving up from 17% in 2018-2019 to a whopping 59% in 2024-2025. These numbers show the superfast pace at which UPI is growing in India.
But How do UPI Payments Affect Online Gaming?
Before the arrival of digital payment systems in India, most of us heavily relied on cash transactions. At that time (only a few years ago), using real money gaming apps or gambling sites was majorly undoable and inconvenient. The masses generally did not trust online casinos or betting sites to safely transfer their funds. Also, there were very few ways in which players could safely deposit money on gaming apps or gambling sites.
In the last couple of years, an increasing population of Indians seems to have joined the online gaming bandwagon. Whether it was real money gaming apps like online poker or teen patti, mobile gaming apps like PUBG and Free Fire, or sports betting apps and websites such as Betway or Bet365, all kinds of gaming ventures saw massive growth in these two years, ever since the pandemic resulted in lockdowns.
This resulted in the casino sites and betting sites upping their deposit methods game by providing payment options that are easy, convenient, and widely used.
Now, UPI has become the go-to payment method for Indian folk. People trust UPI apps such as Google Pay and PhonePe, and any website or app that has these deposit options available automatically becomes legit in the eyes of the public at large.
Since more and more online casino sites have now begun to accept UPI and other digital payment apps such as Paytm, people who are interested in playing real money games online can easily deposit as well as withdraw funds using these methods!
Apart from the obvious ease of use, the attraction of playing games that involve real money has also risen with the advent of digital payments in India. Most payment apps offer some sort of monetary reward (like cashbacks or scratchcards) that keep the users coming back to the same app.
This promotes an environment that’s ripe for online betting and real money gaming, which (if participated in recreationally) has become a great way for people to blow off some steam, while also maybe making a bit of cash on the side.
While there are other factors that have also facilitated the growing popularity of online gaming and betting, there is no denying that UPI and similar digital payment apps have had a large role to play.