Many UK gambling operators, including Bwin, Betfair and William Hill who have made a bid for an internet license in the Himalayan state of Sikkim are anxiously awaiting the decision which is due to be announced in the following two weeks.
The winning company will be entitled to promote their services and take bets all across India which has an overall population of 1.2 billion. Sikkim alone has a population of 600,000. Certain affluent states in India already have a very high level of internet connectivity penetration.
A spokesman for William Hill said “I can confirm that we are interested in entering the Indian market and we are in discussions with potential partners at the moment." As per Indian law, foreign companies need an Indian partner in order to conduct business in the country and William Hill is supposedly talking with a Sikkim based company called Global Torrent International”.
A spokesman for Ladbrokes stated that they are watching the space in order to see what develops as there are lots of partner opportunities to obtain a license in the Sikkim province.
At present it is only legal to bet on horse racing in India which brings in an annual revenue of GBP 245 million as well as gambling at the casinos situated in Goa and Sikkim.
There is approximately an amount of GBP 24 billion worth of bets wagered in the black market in India, most of which is bet on cricket.
Companies who have made their bid are hoping to have their betting services live in time for the football World Cup in South Africa.