When thinking of India, certain things likely instantly spring to mind: aromatic food, synchronized Bollywood dances, and a deep, ingrained love of cricket are just a few.

However, one thing that might not seem as apparent about people living in India is their penchant for online gambling. Even though the local laws regarding this pastime vary depending on the state, it is estimated that almost 80% of Indian residents gamble each year – a staggering number for a country with a population of over one billion people.

One of the most loved ways to gamble among residents is sports betting. While punts on sporting events have seen incredible growth internationally over the last decade, India in particular has a sports betting market bursting at the seams. This is predominantly due to the country’s obsession with cricket.

Cricket in India

Source: jagranjosh.com

Even without the allure of promotions with welcome bonus options attracting players to bet on the sport, cricket would likely still be India’s favourite pastime. The sport, introduced to the country during the 17th century, is the lifeblood of the estimated 125.2 million fans within the country.

This love of cricket, alongside the format used, has been the accelerant for the rise of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The tournament, which quickly became one of the largest cricketing championships in history, attracts millions of players each year.

During the 2023 season, data reported from broadcasters like Disney Star revealed that almost 505 million people tuned in to watch matches. Aside from gaining viewership that broke the half-a-billion mark, the 2023 season also achieved 427.1 billion minutes of watch time – equivalent to around 812,595 years’ worth of TV time.

Cricket Betting in India


While cricket entered the country during the 17th century, the pastime of gambling was already well-established by the 15th century. At this stage, gambling was primitive at best and mainly consisted of wagers on horse races and fights between chickens or lambs.

However, by the 18th century – when cricket was spreading like wildfire across the country – punters realized that bets could be placed on the outcomes of games. With this came the inevitable rise of cricket betting.

Despite initially being unorganized and mostly underground due to the English laws that prohibited gambling, cricket betting in India quickly took shape into the industry it has become today. Since then, it has experienced massive growth.

One of the largest catalysts for this growth was the advent of online gambling. When the first online casino launched in the mid-1990s, many doubted it and were nervous about spending their money online. Fast-forward into the 2020s, and online gambling is commonplace – particularly after global shutdowns forced people online.

The upward trend in popularity has caused the industry in India to take colossal leaps. With an estimated 340 million players placing bets, the industry generated $2.52 billion in 2023. Of that, $1.7 billion was sports betting – most of which was on cricket.

This massive revenue is almost $500 million higher than the previous year (2022), with the industry predicted to continue experiencing massive surges over the coming years. Many predictions state that the industry will be worth $3.73 billion by 2028 – with sports betting responsible for $2.58 billion of that.

Advancements in Cricket Betting

Source: sportscafe.in

At the forefront of these meteoric predictions is the advancement of online gambling technology that has brought convenience, features, and availability to new levels. However, other factors are changing things within the cricket world that also contribute to this increase in wagers.

At the core of this is data science and artificial intelligence. With cricket possessing a plethora of data from previous matches, it is ideally suited for newer technologies and prediction algorithms.

While data science and AI prediction algorithms can help cricket teams understand their opponent’s method of play and identify their own weak points, they can also benefit those who aren’t on the field. It can help predict the outcome of matches and give punters a better chance at placing accurate bets.

This is done by feeding an almost endless stream of historical data points into a prediction algorithm. These data points can include everything from information about players – such as their history of runs, injuries, or recent performances – to information about the grounds where a match will be played – such as pitch conditions and weather predictions.

All this information is carefully analysed, and a model is built that calculates how each player will perform in relation to the conditions they are presented with and against the team they are facing. Using this data, a prediction is made regarding who will win.

Gamblers can use this prediction to better understand teams and their weaknesses and thus place bets that are more likely to return a win. With wins more likely than ever before thanks to the employment of AI and data science models, more people are being attracted to betting than ever before.

The Catch

Without a doubt, cricket betting will continue to grow in India. As newer technology that is better at making predictions is developed, even more people will be attracted to the pastime. However, a sliver of concern for the market lingers on the horizon.

This concern is that online gambling is not formally regulated on a federal level within India. With only a few provinces passing specific legislation dealing with it, the unknown of whether or not the country will suddenly oppose it casts a shadow over the industry.

While highly unlikely considering the pastime’s popularity, this concern has been mounting in past years. Aided by the government’s increase in tax on gambling winnings, the worry over the industry’s future seems ever-present.

However, until the country decides to pass new legislation nationwide or more provinces begin instituting laws, the industry can continue growing exponentially as it has been. For local punters, this means enjoying the sport they love with the bonus of the possibility of a win.