India’s Goa is a state whose influence on gaming culture, tourism flows and even governance spans across the country. In recent years, the coastal state has been rapidly expanding its casino tourism efforts, but an analysis by media company ENV Media showed that there are more popular forms of gambling in Goa.
In their report, analysts at ENV Media cited a survey where 45.4 percent of respondents—all residents of Goa—confirmed that they have gambled in the past year, and 50% of respondents admitted to having gambled at least once in their lifetime, and those that have tried tend to repeat. From this survey, it emerged that lottery is “the most frequent form” of gambling with 67.8 percent survey respondents playing the game.
“With age, Goans tend to play more lottery games,” according to the report. Interestingly, ENV Media analysts pointed out that the game of Matka or Satta “had the highest frequency of all games played in Goa, with roughly 40% of players choosing the old-fashioned lottery from 1 to 3 times a week.”
“We need to keep in mind that Satta Matka is still illegal in Goa (just like the rest of India), yet it accounts for a considerable amount of the black gambling market in the state,” the report noted.
The survey findings are not surprising—lottery’s roots are, after all, burrowed deep in India’s culture. What is surprising is the disparity highlighted given Goa’s ongoing bid to become a casino-focused tourism destination. Although the state is seeing some successes on the casino front in recent years, the privately-run gambling establishments in Goa are proving to be not that popular among locals who are opting to play their favorite pastime of blackjack online.
As one of the 13 states that allow and regulate government lotteries, the possibilities are endless for the state of Goa. Technological revolution, casino closures and resident access limitations has prompted a shift in consumer habits—specifically towards digital. With India now a mobile-first economy, there is a huge potential for states like Goa to make a shift to online operations—both for lotteries and casinos.
Segmented aggregate data from the online lottery page of Sevenjackpots casino comparison site showed “that Goa has double proportional visibility compared to state size” accounting for more visitors than all of Northeastern states—Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh—combined.
India is now becoming a “game-friendly” market, with a 35 percent increase in real money games played on a monthly basis by an average user during the pandemic. This is a huge opportunity not just for Goa, but for other Indian states as well.
As the analysts at ENV Media explained, “The Covid-19 pandemic may have given the decisive push in many industries. While tourism stands to improve in Goa, its gambling fame might just be brought onto a new level with online gambling. Goa might push for more online gamers and next-gen revenue streams instead of pushing for rich tourists (and trying to discriminate against locals or humble desi gamblers).”