A number of India-based online poker companies are reporting success by hosting offline poker tournaments in order to attract more players to their sites.
According to Economic Times, while poker is not considered as gambling, there has still been apprehension over launching online card game portals in the country.
Indian poker companies, including Adda52 and Essel Group’s Pokernation has found hosting events at college festivals as a popular way to engage their target audience – mostly 21-35 year old players. Adda52 was among the earliest companies to conduct such events on campuses, said ET.
“The professors here are open to understanding the legalities and that helps. Kudos to them for giving the student bodies permission to go ahead with these events,” said Adda52 CEO Anuj Gupta.
Gautam Thawani, business head at Pokernation said they organized a few poker nights, and was surprised at how familiar students were with the game.
“We provide a good experience and prizes. Our objective is to eventually get them to play online, so we give them vouchers and if they enjoy the experience they visit again.”
The company has held tournaments at IIT-Jodhpur, IIT-Ropar,Shri Ram College of Commerce and BITS-Goa apart from IIT-Indore from February through April and has more lined up between August and December.
The strategy appears to be effective, with a number of students speaking with ET admitting they had tried playing poker online after these offline events.
Thawani estimated that the companies reached out to around 10,000 people at each of these events, and around 20-25 percent play online.