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Indian gamer undervalued: GMA

India could become the next dominant force in Asian gaming, as long as India’s growing population has easy access to a mix of attractive integrated casino resorts, says Global Market Advisors.

In a paper authored by Kit Szybala, Director of Research and Analysis at GMA, titled “Gaming in India: An Evaluation of the Market's Potential,” the hospitality research and consulting firm focuses on the gaming market in India and its potential.

“Today, the Indian gaming patron is not completely appropriately served by attractive, proximate gaming destinations,” said Szybala. “Even so, Indians continue to demonstrate a proclivity for gambling, as many Indians frequent legal casinos domestically and seek out gaming opportunities abroad.”

Indian casino gaming patrons overwhelming prefer table games, with a strong preference for games such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker, as well as traditional Indian games such as Indian Flush, Mini-Flush, Paplu (Rummy) and Andar Bahar.

Although there are similarities to the Chinese gamer in the way gamers prefer table games with a lower house advantage, Indian gamers are very different in their mindset.

“Market casino managers indicate that Indian gamers are very willing to chase the win. However, Indian gamers do not necessarily only gamble to win, they gamble to enjoy the thrill and excitement of the gaming experience.”

However, although Indians demonstrate a strong propensity for casino gambling, there are not enough casinos easily accessible to the market, with many an airline flight or more away.

Currently, Goa and Sikkim allow a form of casino gambling. The territory of Daman and Diu also permit casino gaming, but its first casino is still yet to receive approval for its gaming license, said the report.

However, Szybala says that there have been recent developments that could change the Indian gaming market.

Goa’s offshore casinos have been given an extension to relocate until the end of March 2017; Delta Corp is poised to open its first casino in Sikkim; Delta has also acquired a “in-principle” license in Daman and Diu to set up a casino hotel, and the Maharashtra government has agreed to review the dated Maharashtra  Casinos (Control and Tax) Act 1976 which legalizes certain forms of gaming and authorizes casinos in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra.

Local and foreign operators are already seeing the value of India’s underserved market, concluded the report.

“In the short to medium term, other operators of casinos in existing markets, such as Singapore and Macau, should recognize the value of the Indian gamer and begin to market to them. In the long term, Indian states and the federal government must consider and recognize the significant economic contributions that integrated casino resort developments can bring to their communities in the form of job growth, tax revenue and tourism.

The report, titled “Gaming in India: An Evaluation of the Market's Potential”, can be downloaded here.

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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