India’s gambling tech boom

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on 03/17/2021

It’s been a big 18 months for the Indian online gambling scene. This week brings with it a pair of events that really drive that home.

At one end of the business-building process is GetMega, which launched this week. Despite having just launched, it has already put out pressers stating its aim of hitting 50 million users by NYE 2021.

At the other end of the process, Nazara Technologies will become the first Indian gaming company to go public. Nazara Tech is holding its Initial Public Offering on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021.

GetMega gets made

The first of these companies, GetMega, advertises itself as “The world’s largest social real money gaming platform.” As well as poker, it offers gin rummy and non-card-games like battleships, pool, and trivia quizzes.

For two years the founders, a group of 200 YouTube stars, have been getting it up and running. In that time they have gathered over $9 million in investments. These monies came from Accel India, Nexus Venture Partners, and a number of other angel investors. GetMega’s formal launch was on Sunday,

The site has 5 million users at the time of writing and is currently targeting 50 million by the end of the year. If all goes well, the company is eyeing an international launch to follow up on this domestic one.

Nazara Technologies

The company for GetMega to beat is now Nazara Technologies.

Nazara is an Indian company that acts as an umbrella for a huge multinational network of online gaming companies. They have corporate structures across East and West Africa (mostly offering mobile gaming), sports betting companies and gaming sites in India, and even a company that runs an early learning app.

As of this week, Nazara Technologies Ltd will be turning into Nazara Technologies PLC. This will be the first Indian gaming company to go public.

Their IPO is backed by billionaire investor Rakesh Jhunjunwala and is expected to raise in the region of ₹583 crore. One crore = ten million, so it comes out to about US$80 million after FX-ing it.

Boom or bust?

A big year doesn’t necessarily indicate smooth sailing. The interaction between supreme court rulings and the state’s rights to police gambling has left much of India’s gambling scene in a bit of a grey area.

That hasn’t done much to stop poker.

As a skill-based game, poker is exempt from many gambling laws (though not all). Sites like Adda52 and PokerBaazi do roaring trade as poker sites. Meanwhile there are other sites that focus on gin rummy and teen patti, both staples of Indian gamers and gamblers. Many of these sites still provide poker as an increasingly popular side dish.

One of the biggest markers of the market’s expansion in 2020 was the influx of international brands. The WPT signed a deal with Natural8 to get their brand onto Indian internet-servers. The APT did the same with PokerBaazi.

India is the world’s biggest democracy. And nothing is more democratic than the game of poker. GetMega and Nazara are on their way to helping ensure that in the turmoil of the last year and a half, gambling comes out on top.

Featured image by Kevin Gill source: Flickr