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Popularization of Mobile Gambling in India – Latest Trends and Impact on the Gambling Industry

Popularization of Mobile Gambling in India

In recent years, India has positioned itself as a country with a rapidly growing number of mobile users and wireless mobile networks, with gambling being one of the fastest-evolving markets.

We conducted a study to identify the latest trends in phone gambling in India and how the industry will move forward in the coming years.

Mobile Gambling Market Boom

Surpassed only by China, India is now the second-largest mobile market according to Statista. With a population of over 1.43 billion people, the country has around 1.18 billion mobile users (including gambling enthusiasts playing casino games via gambling apps).

In 2023, mobile penetration was estimated at 83% and this figure will increase by 5% by 2025.

With an average usage time of 4.5 hours daily, portable devices are an important tool for accessing up-to-date information, for ordering goods and services, as well as for online entertainment including gambling apps.

All this creates a favorable environment for the mobile gambling market with a share of over 84% in 2024 (mobile gambling apps and sites).

Let’s consider the key factors ensuring the growth of mobile gambling industry in India:

  • Convenience. Due to the ability to transmit data wirelessly, mobile devices allow Indians to enjoy gambling from virtually any location (via gambling apps) without being tied to desktop devices.
  • Affordability. According to Statista, the average cost of a smartphone in India has come down by 15% in the last 3 years. Around 60% of the population can buy a smartphone for themselves in 2024 (including to play via gambling apps).
  • Growth of gambling operators. In 2024, the gambling market in India will be served by 80+ online casino and sportsbook operators operating legally. Mobile players are most interested in areas such as traditional online casinos, live dealer gambling games, sports and eSports betting, fantasy sports and lotteries.
  • Mobile-friendly casinos and games. Most gambling sites and apps operating in India are mobile-optimized. About 40% of gambling operators also offer gambling games via apps providing an even smoother gaming experience on smartphones and tablets.
  • Social aspect. Mobile players can now also access live dealer games such as roulette, blackjack, Teen Patti, Andar Bahar, poker, baccarat and live shows and other games via apps. Having a live chat in games that allows you to communicate with other players is one of the great features of live dealer gambling games. Demanding mobile data speeds, live casino games have become more accessible thanks to the development of high-speed 4G and 5G mobile networks.

Mobile devices and optimized mobile gambling platforms (and gambling apps) make gambling entertainment (gambling games) more accessible. However, this brings the problem of gambling addiction (problems with gambling games) even more acute.

Recently, there has been a trend towards promoting responsible gambling practices among operators of mobile gambling games and apps serving the Indian market. Users now have access to tools enabling them to limit gambling sessions in terms of time and amount available for betting in gambling games.

All these factors, including increased awareness of the risks associated with gambling games and gambling apps, are contributing to the rapid development of the mobile market with gambling games and gambling apps in India.

To better understand why the mobile online gambling market with casino games in India is booming today, let’s look at the distribution of smartphone brands.

Below is a table showing the brands as well as the percentage of Indians using them.

Smartphone Manufacturer Percentage of Users
Xiaomi 12.17%
Vivo 10.33%
Realme 7.59%
Samsung 6.84%
OPPO 5.66%
Google 4.58%
Apple 3.40%
OnePlus 2.49%
Infinix 1.23%
(not set) 1.12%
Tecno 1.12%
Motorola 0.84%
Microsoft 0.44%
itel 0.42%
Huawei 0.33%
Mozilla 0.30%
Lava 0.23%
Asus 0.19%
Nokia 0.19%
Micromax 0.09%
Nothing 0.09%
Opera Software 0.09%
Jio 0.07%
Lenovo 0.07%
POCO 0.07%
TCL 0.07%
Honor 0.02%
LG 0.02%
LeTV 0.02%

So, the mobile device market in India is very competitive.

Based on the data from the table, we can conclude the following:

  • Xiaomi continues to dominate the market. Being the most popular brand, Xiaomi offers devices that combine important features such as quality, affordable price, and sufficient performance for online gambling games and online betting. Xiaomi’s aggressive marketing strategy is also one of the most important success factors in the Indian market. These devices are well suited for playing casino games through mobline gambling apps.
  • Xiaomi’s closest competitors, Vivo, Realme, Samsung and OPPO (still good for playing through gambling apps) have a significant market share of over 30% overall demonstrating that Indians’ preferences for smartphone brands vary widely.
  • With a combined market share of over 12%, Google, Apple, OnePlus, and Infinix are gradually gaining popularity in India.
  • Each brand in the table offers smartphones in different price categories ranging from flagship devices to budget-segment gadgets. This means that smartphones in India are available to people of different income brackets.
  • Android dominates. All brands except Apple, Microsoft and a few others use the Android operating system. This means that most mobile gambling and betting platform operators favour the Google Play app marketplace (with mobile gambling apps and betting platforms in place).

Given that Apple has limited retail stores and service centres in India, the iPhone is not a popular device here. Moreover, costing 5-7 times more than the average Android smartphone, it is not affordable for many Indian gamblers.

Reasons for Android’s Domination in India’s Mobile Market

While the mobile OS market in India was very diversified in 2012, just 3-4 years later, Android has become dominant with a share of over 60%. In 2024, the market share of Android devices in India is around 95%.

From Xiaomi and Realmy to Samsung and Google Pixel, Indian gamblers have access to a wide range of brands offering smartphones of different types.

Let’s take a look at the key reasons for Android’s (and Android gambling apps) popularity in India:

  • Affordability. The average price of an Android smartphone in India is just INR 10,000. Smartphones of different price ranges are available in the market making them affordable to almost everyone irrespective of income level.
  • Wide variety of brands. Indians have access to a vast range of portable devices by design, specifications and available features (access to gambling apps and betting platforms). Most of the modern devices available in India have sufficient performance to run gambling apps smoothly.
  • Open ecosystem. Compared to Windows Mobile and iOS which are closed-source OS, Android offers users better customization and flexibility that appeals to tech-savvy people. Due to its open-source nature, Android allows the installation of gambling apps (and betting ones) directly from online casino sites.
  • Huge library of apps. Android device (good for gambling) users have access to Google Play, a huge marketplace that also has gambling apps from online casinos and betting platforms operating in India.
  • Strong partnerships. Many brands offering Android devices have entered into agreements with manufacturers and retailers thereby ensuring wider availability and accessibility.

Also, many tech bloggers and influencers in India are favouring Android devices. It is expected that this dominance of Android is unlikely to diminish in the near future.

Reasons Why Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo and Oppo Dominate in India

China sees India as a very attractive market for its products and this is the main reason for the dominance of its brands here. Noida is home to a huge industrial complex where Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme, Oneplus, and Vivo have manufacturing facilities.

Apart from the factories of the brands mentioned above, there are many other reasons for their dominance in India:

  • Marketing efforts. Xiaomi, Oppo, Realme and Vivo (good for online gambling and betting) use multiple channels including social media, TV and online advertising to promote their products. These brands are trusted among Indians (including those looking to play gambling games via gambling apps) which gives them an edge over their competitors.
  • Customer service. Unlike Apple, these companies have established a wide network of service centers in the country providing easy access to repair and maintenance services for their smartphones.
  • Good understanding of the Indian market. Chinese smartphone manufacturers know the needs and requirements of Indians and develop affordable devices without compromising on quality and functionality. Their devices handle gambling apps and betting platforms well.
  • Economic growth in India. As an emerging economy, India is a country with an ever-increasing middle class. This is resulting in the growing purchasing power of the population and increasing demand for smartphones accordingly. Indians also like to play online casino games and bet on sports on the go playing through gambling apps and betting platofrms.

In addition, due to the “made in India” government policies, there are incentives for local manufacturing, duty reductions and tax incentives. These factors have a positive impact on the price of smartphones from Chinese brands, making them even more affordable for Indians (good for mobile gambling and betting).

As for Samsung, the company has been successful in India due to the well-diversified range of devices in its lineup. Along with expensive flagship ‘S’-series devices, the South Korean brand has budget smartphones (still good for playing through gambling apps) capable of competing with Xiaomi, Oppo and other Chinese brands.

Moreover, Samsung has a long history of presence in India and has gained the trust of local consumers. It is also enhancing its image by participating in numerous social projects in India.

According to smartphone shipment data for Q4 2023 in India, Xiaomi is the leader with 18% share, while the 2nd place is occupied by Vivo and Samsung (17%). In 3rd place is Realme with 11% and in 4th place is Oppo with 10% respectively (still good for playing through gambling apps and betting on sports).

Apparently, Chinese companies continue to build up their leading position in the mobile device market in India. Although Samsung’s device market share has declined slightly in recent years, its budget devices are still in high demand (popular among those looking to play casino games via gambling apps).

The Prevalence of Mobile Gambling Players over Desktop Ones

According to Statista, only 16% of gamblers in India played gambling games on desktop devices in 2023. This number is expected to drop to 10% by 2025, indicating an ever-growing mobile gambling market.

Desktop gambling games with their more advanced graphics and feature-rich gameplay are still attractive to some Indian gamblers. However, thanks to the development of mobile internet infrastructure, the proliferation of smartphones in the country and the mobile-first approach of gambling game developers, gambling on-the-go will continue to dominate in the coming years.

Apple’s Market Position in India

From 2021 to 2023, the iPhone market share in India has grown from 3.8% to 5.7%. However, the Cupertino-based company’s devices are still far behind Android smartphones in India for the reasons outlined above.

The highest sales of Apple devices (the best for mobile gambling apps) are in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad where a large number of high-income people reside. In India, it is believed that owning an iPhone means one has achieved a certain amount of success.

Sold at prices starting at $1,100 in India, Apple’s latest range of smartphones are out of reach for most people in the country. Although the company is gradually reducing the prices of its devices and expanding its network of stores and service centres, smartphones from Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Realme are still much more attractive to Indians.

Mobile Gambling in Rural Areas in India

The rural mobile market in India is growing rapidly, with 65% of people owning smartphones in 2024. While around 30% of people in rural areas still only have access to a 2G network (bad for mobile gambling games), recent years have seen a surge in coverage of faster mobile data networks.

Since bank cards and e-wallets are not common in rural areas, local players still use mobile wallets and USSD payments. However, gambling-friendly payment options are becoming more accessible to gamblers from non-major cities over time.

The use of outdated Android 5.0 – 8.0-based smartphones is the norm for those living in rural areas. As for the urban population, users of smartphones running Android 8.0 – 12.0 are more common.

Although the Android version on a smartphone affects the user experience (important for mobile gambling games), many online casino operators offer games compatible with older devices. Thus, rural residents are the demographic group that will contribute the most to the continued growth of mobile gambling in India.

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