Betting on sports or card games has been around in India for longer than we can remember. Gambling has had a deep-rooted existence, not just in India’s past, but also in the present. While physical gambling in public houses may be deemed illegal by most Indian states, there still exists an entirely secretive and shady underworld of bookies offering betting opportunities during events such as the IPL.
However, in recent years, India has seemed to embrace the option of online betting. Since the Public Gambling Act of 1867 does not prohibit the use of online betting sites that are based outside the country, people now have been awarded a legal loophole, through which they can bet online!
But it is not just with the help of this loophole that Indians have become more prone to spend their money on betting websites or real money gaming apps. There are several related factors at play here, and one of them seems to be the growth of the technology of digital payments such as UPI.
According to the NPCI, 2020 was the year when UPI truly became the giant that it was meant to become – from around September to December, the number of transactions done on UPI saw exponential growth. Additionally, in December, UPI volumes reached 2,234.16 million, and the value of transactions was ₹4,16,176 crore, according to the NPCI.
UPI is also expected to capture more 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 clearly indicate the mammoth pace at which the digital payments sector in India has grown in just the last couple of years.
But how do digital payments facilitate online betting?
Before the advent of digital payment options, India was an economy that was largely dependent on cash. During that time, using real money gaming apps or betting sites was largely unimaginable. And there was lesser trust on online platforms to actually safely transfer your funds.
On the other hand, thanks to the growing trust that people have in online payments as well as the ease with which such transfers of funds can be made in seconds, has made it possible for people to use betting sites to bet online. Since more and more betting sites have now begun to accept UPI as well as other digital payment apps such as Paytm and PhonePe, people who are interested in online gaming can easily deposit as well as withdraw using these methods!
Apart from the obvious ease of use, the attraction of playing games that involve real money has also grown with the rise of digital payments in India. Whether it is through scratchcards or cashbacks, most digital payment apps also offer some sort of monetary rewards or games to keep a user coming back to the same app. This obviously promotes an environment that’s open to online betting and real money gaming, which 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 helped the rising popularity of online gaming and betting, there is no denying that UPI and similar digital payment apps have had a large role to play.