Foreign gambling company enters Indian market with massive rummy site acquisition
Since the last few years, India has turned into a gold mine for investors. Several promising startups have emerged that are solving relevant problems and have great growth potential. These startups are not only attracting foreign investments but are also driving several mergers and acquisitions.
In 2018, e-commerce giant Walmart acquired 77% stake in Flipkart for $16 billion, making it the largest acquisition involving an Indian company. This made it clear that global giants were looking to enter the Indian market with strategic acquisitions. The story is not very different in the online gambling sector, which is one of the fastest growing digital markets in India.
Flutter Entertainment Grabs Majority Stake In Junglee Rummy
Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of global online poker giant PokerStars, has acquired a majority 50.1% stake in Indian online rummy operator Junglee Rummy for $66.2 million.
Flutter owned PokerStars is a giant in the online card gaming landscape, often touted as the largest real-money online poker site in the world.
Junglee Rummy has long been the flagship product of Junglee Games, an Indian gaming company founded in 2012 and based in San Francisco. The company claims to have 50 million users and is one of the top 3 online rummy operators in India. Some of the other Junglee Games titles include casual mobile game Eatme.io, daily fantasy cricket game Howzat and Junglee Teenpatti, an Indian skill-based card game with influences from poker.
As per a statement issued by Flutter, the global poker giant is looking to increase its stake in Junglee Rummy to 100% by 2025. While Flutter already has a presence in the Indian online poker market through PokerStars India, the company has solidified its position further by getting a foot in the online rummy domain through its latest acquisition.
Expert Opinion on the Acquisition
To better understand what this acquisition means for the online gambling industry and what lies ahead, we reached out to Mr. Tomesh Kulkarni, chief editor of MyCasino.in.
MyCasino is a leading guide to online gambling in India and helps Indian players to gamble legally and profitably,
Here are a few excerpts from the interview with Mr Tomesh.
Q: Mr. Kulkarni, thanks for taking the time to do this interview today.
TK: It’s my pleasure!
Q: First off, what made Flutter interested in acquiring a relatively small Indian iGaming startup?
TK: The first and most important reason is that Flutter has been eyeing the Indian market and they saw this as the perfect opportunity to enter the market. Junglee Games is a true game changer in the online gambling industry.
In the past, Junglee Games has raised $3.5 Mn in two funding rounds. Flutter saw good potential to further develop Junglee’s product offering, including its recently launched daily fantasy sports product. Flutter will be able to leverage the group’s capabilities in this area and apply the same to a global market. Therefore, the acquisition was certainly in the best interest of Flutter.
Q: Do you think Junglee’s foothold in the mobile gaming market was also a reason for Flutter’s interest in their portfolio?
TK: Definitely! Junglee has some really strong offerings on the mobile platform. We hear this constantly from MyCasino’s users. Flutter is viewing this as an opportunity to add another feather to their hat. The Indian mobile gaming market, with 326 million mobile gamers as of last year, was pegged to be a $1.2 billion market opportunity by the end of 2020. Operators who get it right on mobile are going to reap enormous profits..
Q: What does this acquisition mean for the online gambling market in India?
TK: Online gambling is a market that has grown exponentially during the pandemic. There are about 4-5 million poker players in India at the moment and the market has great potential to grow. I firmly believe that this acquisition sends out a very strong message. Online gambling is here to stay. Analysts believe that the online rummy market alone will be worth $1.4 billion USD by 2024. The acquisition reaffirms this belief.
This is the first reported investment in online rummy by flutter. Despite a few barriers surrounding online gambling regulations and laws, global gambling operators have confirmed their intentions to dig its heels deeper in India. The online gambling landscape is becoming more increasing by the day for sure!