Gambling in South Asia

27 October 2021
Reading: 7 min

South Asian culture and gambling

Asia is a region that is diverse in culture and wealth. South Asia shows a strong European influence originating from its colonial past. It is balanced out by the rule of Sharia law in many countries of the region. Today we will take a look at India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh — people there face many restrictions both cultural and legal, but still manage to play and make bets.

Gambling in South Asia


Gambling search trends in India

Gambling in South Asia

Gambling in South Asia      Gambling in South Asia

  • casino goa
  • casino royale
  • casino deltin
  • casino pride
  • lottery result
  • lottery sambad (Nagaland State Lottery)
  • lotto india (National Lottery)
  • kerala lottery (Kerala State Lottery)

Gambling legislation in India

India is one of the smaller gambling markets, but Indians are rather keen players — this is a positive side of this GEO. The negative would be the fact that the gambling industry in India is supposed to be governed by unified state legislation, however, every Indian state has its own set of rules, which makes for an absolute nightmare. Moreover, Indian gambling laws have not been revised for many years, they are often controversial. For instance, games are roughly divided into games of chance and games of skill, and it is possible to bet on skill but prohibited to bet on chance winnings. However, the majority of games are a combination of both and the law does not specify any further. Over the years, some games have been classified as games of skill, for example, horse racing, poker, rummy, etc. But some states have gone as far as to prohibit the games of skill as well (Telangana and Arunachal Pradesh).

Betting on sports events like horse racing and cricket is legal as you need prior knowledge and some skill to pick the possible winner — so these are not games of chance.

About 13 Indian states run their lotteries, the most searched for are the Goa, Kerala, and Nagaland state lotteries.

In the Indian gambling industry, there are such governing bodies as All India Gaming Federation, The Rummy Federation, and Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports. These are self-regulated bodies that control the flow and quality of gambling-themed advertising within the country.

When it comes to online gambling, some states do not have any legislation for this sector. Only 3 out of 29 Indian states have updated their gambling laws, and they chose to prohibit online gambling and betting and crackdown on traditional gambling too. Nevertheless, iGaming is quite popular among Indians and has brought 90 bn rupees (~1.2 bn USD) in revenue in 2020.

On the contrary, the players are not limited by law and can use any foreign online casino or betting shop as long as it is registered legally. The only entry restriction is the age of players, it varies from 18 to 21 depending on the operator.

India has 22 languages in total but only two official — Hindi and English. About 57% of the population speak Hindi, and 11% speak English. The rest is dispersed between the minority languages.

Creatives for gambling campaigns targeting India

Gambling in South Asia Gambling in South Asia
Gambling in South Asia


Gambling in South Asia


Gambling search trends in Pakistan

Gambling in South Asia

Trending search combinations for betting:

  • football betting
  • blast game
  • ipl betting tips (Indian Premier League)
Trending search combinations for lottery:

  • zee lotto
  • joo lottery
  • mumbai lottery
  • kerala lottery

Gambling legislation in Pakistan

Pakistan is a Muslim country, which means that gambling and betting are illegal like in most Arab countries because the Sharia law brands them as acts of the Devil. The only legal activity of the sort is horse race betting. It is prohibited to run a casino hall, a betting house, or even a lottery. The online versions of said activities are absolutely out of bounds as well. But this does not mean that there is no gambling in Pakistan. There is a gambling and betting black market out there, and players are frequent guests, even though they risk getting fined or arrested.

There is no separate online gambling legislation, but it is considered that iGaming is as bad as traditional gambling and, consequently, should be banned. However, Pakistani players can access foreign gambling websites, some of which even accept deposits in rupees (these are mainly Asian providers). The preferred top-up methods are via a credit card or a prepaid card (e.g. EntroPay). It is also possible to use Skrill or WebMoney when in Pakistan, but Neteller and PayPal are banned. Seeing that the online gambling sector is not regulated by the state, the players are rather defenseless in the face of unscrupulous site owners and, therefore, can be an indecisive audience for marketing campaigns.

Pakistan has two official languages — Urdu and English. English is mostly used by the government, businesses, and schools. Urdu is the common language among the people.

The top gambling websites for Pakistani players:

  • JackpotCity Casino
  • Gambling Club Casino
  • Ruby Fortune
  • 888casino
  • Spin Casino
  • Pinnacle Casino
  • WilliamHill Casino
  • 777 Casino
  • Royal Vegas

Creatives for gambling campaigns targeting Pakistan

Gambling in South Asia Gambling in South Asia


Gambling in South Asia


Gambling search trends in Bangladesh

Gambling in South Asia

  • bet 365 casino
  • online casino
  • casino games
  • baji live
  • casino in *location*
  • cricket betting
  • bet 365 sports betting
  • ipl betting
  • betting adda
  • 1xbet
  • lottery sambad
  • thai lottery
  • ipo lottery
  • pof lottery

Gambling legislation in Bangladesh

Bangladesh gambling laws have several influences: to begin with, it is a Muslim country, and as we know, Islam prohibits all types of gambling. Then, Bangladesh has been under British colonial rule and has the same Public Gambling Act of 1867 still active, as India does. The act bans all games of chance and allows some games of skill. It follows that there are no legal brick-and-mortar casinos in Bangladesh. However, there is an underground gambling industry flourishing in this country, and the online sector is not closely monitored, so people can access foreign websites.

Horse race betting and lotteries are the only kinds of legal gambling activities for Bangladeshi nationals. Although, it is only possible to bet on a race that is happening on the same day and only if the player is present at the track. Bangladesh does not have a national lottery or online lottery operators within the country. There are several companies that run lotteries and prize bond draws (e.g. the Bank of Bangladesh). Foreign online lottery operators can access the Bangladeshi market freely.

As for payment methods, Bangladeshi have a big choice: credit cards, cryptocurrencies, payment systems like Skrill, Neteller, and Payoneer. The national currency is taka, but unlike rupees it is not valid on international websites and players have to use dollars or euro.

The official and national language for Bangladesh is Bengali (or Bangla), it is used by more than 90% of the population and has no competition.

Top betting websites for Bangladeshi gamblers:

  • PureWin
  • Parimatch
  • bet365
  • 1xBet

Creatives for gambling campaigns targeting Bangladesh

Gambling in South Asia Gambling in South Asia
Gambling in South Asia

Gambling in Asian countries: conclusion

  • This part of Asia has a more relaxed view on gambling and betting culture-wise, even though there is a perceivable influence of the Sharia law.
  • Being a former British India territory, these countries have inherited the European view on gambling as an entertaining pastime.
  • Though English is stated as an official language in India and Pakistan, it is better not to use it in ad creatives. Hindi for India, Urdu for Pakistan, and Bengali for Bangladesh will be much better combinations.
  • The Public Gambling Act of 1867 that takes its origin in the colonial past of the region, though old, controls the majority of gambling activities. However, due to its antiquity this law has no notion of online gambling and cannot ban it per se. This makes it easier for people living in the region to gamble online with less fear of prosecution.
  • Horse races and cricket are the most popular sports to bet on in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Seeing that making bets is illegal in most of these countries, gamblers opt for foreign online betting operators.
  • Advertisers tend to give higher payout rates for these South Asian countries, than for wealthier Arab counterparts (the CPA is 40–60 USD for India, 25–30 USD for Bangladesh).
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