Digital Demand will Fuel Large-Scale Growth of India’s Data Centre Industry
The continuous increase in digital consumption and demand on cloud-based services, coupled with the fast development of digital infrastructure and the upcoming rollout of 5G connectivity, are set to fuel a large-scale and sustainable growth of the data centre industry in India, as per a collaborative study titled ‘Data Centres: The Building Blocks of Digital Revolution in India’ by Bharti Airtel’s data centre subsidiary Nxtra and real estate consultancy company JLL India.
According to the report, the data centre industry growth will be most prominent in the strategically located metros of Mumbai and Chennai due to the presence of existing cable landing stations there and other economic and infrastructure advantages. Nevertheless, inland metro areas including the National Capital Region of Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Pune will also witness substantial data centre growth.
The importance of Kolkata is expected to grow as a new cable landing station is projected to be built there in the next several years. Bengaluru displays the highest rate of in-house data centres used by global technology companies, while the data centre industry in NCR Delhi is largely fueled by the demand generated by governmental structures. Pune has benefited from its closeness to Mumbai and has shaped up as a convenient disaster recovery location for companies from the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector.
Digital Development Pushes Money Flows Away from Black Market Sports Betting
Another recently published report by Indian real money gaming experts Esse N Videri Media (ENV Media) titled ‘Sports Betting Trends in a Mobile-First India’ reveals an ongoing tendency towards greater visibility and recognition of online sports betting options. Enabled by the advance of digital infrastructure and rising mobile penetration, young and tech-savvy Indians have gained access to the global sports betting market and their money is moving away from illegal black market bookies.
Of all sports, online cricket betting naturally takes the distinct lead, accounting for 68 percent of the total bets analyzed by the ENV study, with modern-day eCricket taking another 5 percent of all registered wagers. “Cricket is king”, but other sports have also started gaining recognition, with football being the most prominent, followed by tennis. Football betting records 11 percent of the bet count, with FIFA adding an extra 7 percent, while tennis attracts 3 percent of all bets.
As per data quoted by the Esse N Videri study, the annual turnover generated by offshore online and illegal offline sports betting in India has been estimated to be between $130 billion and $150 billion (roughly between ₹10 and ₹11.5 lakh crore). The largest part of these amounts come from the ICC T20 World Cup and IPL betting. A single One Day International (ODI) match in India attracts as much as $200 million (roughly $1,500 crore) of bets.
With the Technology Available, the Only Missing Thing for a Sustainable Online Betting Industry is Sensible Regulation
With the growth of technology, cloud services and data centres, the rising smartphone and mobile data penetration and the upcoming 5G rollout, demand for online betting options is destined to increase. India should not leave such a vast market to offshore operators and illegal back-alley sports bookies. Adopting contemporary and sensible regulation over the sector is the logical next step that will not only bring revenues to the exchequer, but will introduce modern user protection and will lower societal costs related to gambling and betting.
According to industry estimates highlighted by the ENV Media study, regulating sports betting in India will bring to legitimate financial flows as much as ₹3 lakh crore (approximately $40 billion) every year. These money flows would leave criminal circles and instead of being used for funding other illicit activities, the taxes can be applied to support various welfare projects and mental health facilities and programs to help problem gamblers and bettors.
While a black market betting environment offers no protection to participants, a national regulation would normally require licensed platforms to implement a comprehensive system of responsible gaming mechanisms. These include self-exclusion tools, weekly or monthly bet limits, restrictions on betting on credit, Aadhaar-based age verification, quick access to mental health support lines, and others.