Delhi-NCR based CasinoKart, the e-commerce and manufacturing arm of Baazi Games, is making the casino product industry atmanirbhar in India. In a bid to reduce dependency on imports, the company is strengthening manufacturing and reaching out to brands for associations. From being an ecommerce platform selling imported casino goods, the company now gets only 5 percent of its revenue from imported products. The growing demand for card games pushed CasinoKart to focus on manufacturing in the country.
Aditya Sardana, CEO, CasinoKart talks to Storyboard18 about the growing business in India, competition and working with brands to amplify reach.
How much has the dependency on imported casino products gone down since you entered the market?
The growing awareness around poker and card games in general has indeed led to people finally acknowledging the importance of high quality cards and casino products. The ‘Made in India’ initiative has helped in shifting the mindset of people to now refrain from going for low quality imported products. Since 2021, we have been the primary choice of casinos for their casino tables and chips requirements. Currently, our products are widely used in most of the casinos in India and in addition to this, we have partnered with 50+ companies globally, who get poker chip sets customized with branding for corporate gifting purposes. As far as CasinoKart is concerned, we have completely reduced our dependency on imported goods in the last couple of years. We set up our own manufacturing unit at Faridabad in 2019 and now, we are very much ‘Atmanribhar’ in meeting our clients’ demands.
Tell us about your product range. Is there any way we can identify an India made product from an imported one? What are the primary differences between imported and indigenous ones?
CasinoKart, the e-commerce arm of Baazi Games, is a one-stop destination offering a holistic range of poker and gaming products, starting from Poker chips, playing cards (Modiano and Falcon), poker and casino tables, gaming chairs, gaming stations, gaming desk and we have now ventured into corporate gifting as well. Since our inception in 2015, we have been constantly working towards making the Indian gaming goods ecosystem “Atmanirbhar” and we will continue to expand our offerings based on consumer feedback.
The primary advantage of Indigenous production is the standardization. Earlier if people would re-order the same product, it used to vary in each of the different lots of production. Indigenous production has also helped us play around with the designs as well. Also, we are able to control costs which were earlier difficult with imported products ruling the roost.
How has business grown for you in terms of revenue?
Since 2017, till the last financial year, we have witnessed 10X growth in revenue. By the end of next financial year, our aim is to grow at least 15X from 2017. Further, in terms of fixed investment, we have grown our machinery 4X in the last one year to meet the increased demand of our products in the market.
Who are your primary clients? How many new clients have you onboarded this year? How have festive sales been compared to last year?
Since last year, we have been able to consolidate our position in India as a market leader. Our primary clients are Indian Casinos and wholesalers across the globe. At the moment, nearly 70-80 percent of the Indian Casinos are amongst our clients. Further, this year, we have signed six new clients and most of them are Indian Casinos and we have further extended our partnerships with wholesalers in the US. As far as the festive sales are concerned, the decline in the severity of the pandemic has certainly helped. Our retail festive sales have grown between 20-25 percent as compared to 2021.
What has been the change in business dynamics post the pandemic?
The biggest change in the business dynamics has been in terms of revenue share occupied by imported goods. Earlier 100 percent of the revenue was driven by imported products, whereas, currently in 2022 only 5 percent of our revenue comes from imported products and 95 percent of the revenue comes from our in-house production. Further, since the pandemic there has been an increase in the collective consciousness regarding card games like Poker which is our primary offering and has helped in boosting demand.
Who is your competition in India? What is the kind of investment that is going into marketing?
In India, at the moment, we don’t have a direct competitor as we are the largest indigenous manufacturer of casino products. Though we continue to face competition from the Chinese suppliers in retail, casinos and exports.
Considering we are primarily a B2B platform, we don’t actively spend on ATL and BTL channels for promotions. Word of mouth and client references are the primary modes of expanding our network. It is a close knit industry and any partnership only takes place after proper background checks to ensure highest quality levels. As of now, we have an 80 percent B2B customer retention rate and we continue to build on the same.
To expand our share in the foreign markets, we are actively investing in a new product website that will allow customers to customize their casino tables and chips on the website and place direct orders.
Help us understand your expansion plans. Any plans of exporting your products? What will be the USP that you will pitch to clients outside India where China made products do the maximum business?
Apart from leading the Indian market, in the last two years we have already started exporting to 10 countries like the US, UK, Canada, Nepal, Germany amongst others. By the end of the next FY we are surely looking to further expand our global footprint. As I stated earlier, we are maintaining high levels of standardization throughout our product lines and what we surely excel at is classy finishing and trendy designs. Lastly, once we are able to take the new website LIVE, customization will be another benefit for all our client groups.