With its slew of tech initiatives, the Union Budget 2022 is earmarking a major step forward for the digital transformation of the already digital-friendly India. The online entertainment industry is potentially one of the biggest gainers as the government shifts its focus to digital infrastructure and investment.
From digital rupee to 5G, digital transformation is on India’s horizon
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the annual budget in early February, which, among other things, highlighted the government’s plans to advance digital transformation and investment in the country. One of the biggest announcements is the imminent launch of an official digital rupee, to be supervised by the Reserve Bank of India.
Aside from the central bank digital currency (CBDC), Sitharaman also unveiled several other tech initiatives as part of the government’s 25-year plan to India’s digital transformation, including the rollout of 5G services in the fiscal year 2022-23 with another 5G spectrum auction happening this year with plans to make 5G connectivity available in remote areas. In her speech, the finance minister said, “All villages and their residents should have the same access to e-services, communication facilities, and digital resources as urban areas and their residents.”
Also in the works is the government-backed task force for promoting the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) industry, which, according to Sitharaman, has an immense potential to generate employment opportunities in the country. Given that the AVGC sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the country—particularly with the gaming industry leveling up and expanding in India—it makes sense that the government is investing more in it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the AVGC sector is estimated to reach Rs. 3 lakh in the next two years, which will help create “tremendous potential for ‘Create in India and Brand in India.’”
India online entertainment platforms gearing up to make massive progress
The biggest gainers of India’s digital transformation initiatives are undoubtedly the online entertainment platforms in the country. Now, more and more people are doing the majority of their daily activities digitally, be it for work or study, for shopping and business, even for paying bills, and most especially for leisure activities. A case in point is a lottery: research shows that the Indian lottery online is becoming more popular than ever, especially in recent times as people grasp onto things that provide hope and will make them feel in control.
It’s worth noting that while the lottery remains to be India’s favorite game, the “true” online lottery still makes up a fraction of the country’s online gambling market. As pointed out by ENV Media research dissecting India’s lottery industry, online lottery operations in India still involve ticket sales via retailers, with the entire operation controlled by a central server managed by the state government. Paper-based lotteries cater to players with limited access to technology, while online lotteries are seen to be more appealing to tech-savvy consumers.
But with the government’s push for digital transformation, this is the best time for the lottery sector to also go fully digital as the awareness and demand for online lottery increase especially since having a digitally-powered distribution makes the lottery operations more efficient and the game easier to access.
“An efficient online lottery distribution would speed up sales and payouts, even if it leads to somewhat more expensive tickets and a relative tech barrier for some users,” the ENV Media study noted. “However, provided that the average desi consumer feels comfortable using a mobile phone in this day and age – and that the demand for lottery games should be a constant in the long run – many States need to reconsider their stance on an online and mobile lottery if they are to make up their losses and prepare for the future of legal lotteries in India.”