Interview: India Bet benefiting from focus on regional diversity

Interview: India Bet benefiting from focus on regional diversity

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
George Oborne is excited by the opportunities that India offers

On a plane bound for Heathrow, thousands of metres above the earth, George Oborne observes the seeming endless swathes of colour stretching out beyond the horizon and thinks about the infinite opportunities offered by India.

The managing director of social gaming operator India Bet is flying to London from his home in Mumbai and takes a moment to grasp exactly what the gaming industry can achieve in a country whose population of more than 1.2 billion are becoming more prosperous and benefiting from a developing technological infrastructure.

India Bet, which is part of Sports Gaming Ltd, a London-based sports information provider and management consultancy, was a pioneer in the social gaming sphere in the country as early as 2012 and after three years of growth, Oborne is well aware that this huge nation is not simply a monolithic money-printing ground. Hard work and a respect for this huge country’s diverse regions - not least as the 29 states and seven union territories are in charge of gambling laws - will be key for any company that wants to be a success in India.

“The opportunities offered by India are huge,” Oborne told TotallyGaming.com. “However, you cannot think of India as one entity.

“The difference between states and regions are vast and your entry strategies, whilst extremely worthwhile, will not be simple.

“Betting and gaming in India is changing very rapidly. The adoption of the internet and the devices that power it is occurring at an astounding rate

“India, however, is a unique place and must be understood as such. The way it consumes gaming products is very different to how they are consumed elsewhere.

“For online gaming to succeed in India, which it undoubtedly will, operators must be aware of this.”

Oborne was fresh out of university when he began developing the concept of India Bet in 2011. After extensive market research, the company was launched as a simple sports book, but by 2015 had become a market leader offering traditional Indian games such as Passa, casino and virtual sports to its huge customer base.

The games are free, and India Bet’s website says it is keen to promote an emphasis on “fun…in a safe and legal environment”, which is some way removed from the gangs that control illegal betting in the country.

Oborne, who is also head of emerging markets for Sports Gaming, added: “We remain the market leaders with a hugely engaged user base logging in daily to fill up the chat room, the site leaderboards and to keep us on our toes. We revenue from advertising, both within the affiliate sphere and beyond.

“Over the past few years social gaming in India has been adopted as a viable alternative to real money gaming. Real-money gaming and sports betting in India involves shady and often dangerous deals with illegal bookmakers.

“Social gaming offers a safe and enjoyable alternative that has attracted a number of young, internet savvy users who want to tap into the many opportunities offered by the online sphere.”

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